Pumpkin Walk helps visitors get into Halloween spirit

“Kunkins” are what 3-year-old Owen Dobbins of Lordstown dubbed the stars of the Pumpkin Walk at Twilight 2017 on Sunday at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Owen particularly liked the pumpkins carved in the likenesses of Anna and Elsa, characters in Disney’s animated film “Frozen,” said his mother, Ashley Dobbins. She and her friend Cody Griffin of Austintown praised the event for being family-oriented – “something to do for kids and families.”

They were among thousands who, despite the threat of inclement weather, found their way to the 12th annual Pumpkin Walk at Twilight and strolled around the grounds admiring the scary and skillfully carved Halloween pumpkins on display.

Andrew Pratt, Fellows Riverside Gardens director, said about 10,000 attended the event in 2016 and estimated this year’s Pumpkin Walk featured about 1,500 pumpkins.

For those who missed Sunday’s Pumpkin Walk, the pumpkins will be on display for a few more days, depending on the weather, said Lynn Zocolo, a park educator.

In addition to the pumpkins, the gardens hosted several activities including a pumpkin-carving demonstration and entertainment by local singer/song writer JD Eicher, who sang and played the acoustical guitar and harmonica in the musical mode of James Taylor and John Mayer.

Mike and Mari Kocjancic of Boardman and their children – Lily and Maddy, both 6, Sophie, 5, and Deacon, 3 – were first-time visitors to the Pumpkin Walk. “The kids love pumpkins and Halloween,” Mari said.

Danielle Mellott and Shane Miller, both of New Castle, Pa., learned of the Pumpkin Walk during a visit to Lanterman’s Mill in the park earlier in the day and decided to stay for the event, which ran from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“I like scary things,” Mellott said.

“Inspiring” is how Julie Shaw of Edinburg, Pa., described the carved pumpkins. “They give me lots of ideas,” said Shaw, who came to the event with her children – Ryder, 8, Barrett, 4, and Carter, 2 – and the children’s grandparents, Jeff and Pam Shaw of Harlansburg, Pa.

Beth and Jesse Troy of Cornersburg said they enjoyed Pumpkin Walk 2016 immensely and made sure to come back for this year’s event. They love to take pictures of the pumpkins and show them via Skype to their grandchildren in California.

“I love the ambience when the torches are lighted. The walk is beautiful,” said Beth.

Campbell Municipal Court Judge Patrick Cunning attended the event with several family members, including his granddaughters – Diana Cunning, who turned 1 Saturday, and Caroline Rankin, 6 months.

“It’s an outstanding family event. It’s magical,” the judge said.

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