During this season last year, we visited Carefree, AZ which is just a short distance from our Sonoran Desert home. They had a pumpkin carving/Halloween display and festival that was, as the title indicates, enchanting. I can also add very creative and entertaining.
To read last year’s posts with daytime pictures that are quite different, visit the links below:
We decided to visit the exhibition once again. This year, however we arrived after dark. The nighttime presented several photographic challenges, so I hope you will overlook some of the shots if they are not quite as sharp or colorful as they should be. I think you will enjoy this post (and the next post) which should stimulate the holiday spirit.
When we arrived, it was just at the end of family pumpkin carving time. Professional sculptors had taught the skill of pumpkin carving and families were finishing their individual creations as we made our way to the large rotunda. This is done to raise money for the local “Y.”
It is interesting to watch the experts bring out the detailed facial features.
Why so puzzled or is it sad?
The previously carved pumpkins were jealously watching as others were getting all of the attention.
And this little guy didn’t seem to care one way or the other as he sat upon the table. BTW – we were told last year that the appendages were artificial, but made to look real.
There were plenty of carved pumpkins to see and some burlap-stuffed figures as well. Notice the faint figure in the background.
Here is that burlappy cowboy that was lurking in the previous photo. After all, it is Halloween in the western desert!
There was a four hundred pound pumpkin on display as you can see…
And it was very orange and large. Notice the person’s legs on the left for some perspective.
The family-carved pumpkins were judged and this young fellow was brought up to the stage to have his picture taken with pumpkin carver extraordinaire, Ray Villafane, as he was selected for his excellent carving. I was very impressed to see how well all of the amateur family carvers performed. I don’t think I could have done as well.
A more traditional October pumpkin scarecrow was propped on the stage to help set the autumnal mood even though it was 90 + degrees that afternoon; pretty scary!
This figure was sitting on a ledge off to the side and would be easy to miss. He was attempting to play a balancing game with some rocks. Just as a side note…the attention to detail in this exhibit was outstanding!
Instead of scaring passersby, this pumpkin looked as though it was scared of us!
Below is another view of a pumpkin pictured above. You may notice that the face glistens a bit. A brine mixture is sprayed onto the surface of the pumpkin as a preservative so when visiting the garden, there is a slight vinegar odor, but not unpleasant.
These pumps were placed in the back of the stage to help provide that Halloween ambiance.
Not only the pumpkins were golden as..
several dogs seemed to be enjoying the exhibit as well. This one may be a bit scared!
Some pumpkins were just enjoying the exhibition. Others, as viewers will see in the next post, were not quite as lucky!
We will leave you this day with an onlooking burlap maiden and child which were appropriately dressed for the occasion.
*NOTE: The pumpkins in the scenes were made using artificial resources to keep them from being eaten by the native wildlife such as Javelinas. Also of note, some of the metal stands supporting the pumpkins in the “scenes” have been removed in the photographs.