More than 1,000 carved pumpkins to light paths at Fellows gardens

“I love to carve pumpkins!” exclaimed Penelope Roush, 5.

Her enthusiasm was matched by her brother, Parker, 8, as the two took part in pumpkin carving at Fellows Riverside Gardens this week ahead of Sunday’s Pumpkin Walk at Twilight.

Sitting next to Penelope, Parker eagerly carved a Batman-themed design into a massive pumpkin.

“You might want to put in the newspaper how fast I am,” he said proudly.

The two were there with their great-grandmother, Sue Newman of Liberty. The three will be back Sunday with their whole family. As dusk sets in, they’ll be on the look out for their creations lining the gardens’ paths.

“It’s a wonderful event,” Newman said. “It’s beautiful. When they’re all lit up, it’s breathtaking.”

Parker and Penelope’s pumpkin masterpieces will be among 1,000 to 2,000 that will be on display Sunday. Pumpkin carving continues today and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the gardens service building. People are invited to come out and carve, with pumpkins provided by the MetroParks.

“It’s 15,000 pounds of pumpkins we got this year,” said gardens Director Andrew Pratt.

On Sunday, all of them will be set up along the gardens’ winding paths. Over the years, the pumpkin walk has become a popular event. Even with rain in the forecast, Pratt said he expects a turnout of about 10,000 people.

“It think it’s becoming a family attraction. It really brings people out,” he said.

Adding to the fun will be local musician JD Eicher and family-friendly activities. Cider and apples also will be available.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 8. Pratt suggested that visitors show up early, as the gardens’ parking lot fills up quickly. Additional parking will be available at a nearby church off Mahoning Avenue and on the streets adjacent to the gardens.

Among those who plan to turn out Sunday are Gina DiGiovanni of Warren and Leanne Lee of Girard, who were carving pumpkins Thursday.

This year marked DiGiovanni’s first time participating in the carving. She plans to bring her two kids Sunday.

“Halloween is my favorite season, and I just wanted to help out,” she said, estimating that she’d already carved 10 pumpkins. “I love Mill Creek MetroParks.”

Lee, who skillfully carved an abstract design into her pumpkin, has been to the pumpkin walk several times before.

“I love to come take pictures of all the people walking through and the lights,” she said.

“It’s just a really nice atmosphere.”

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