Jimmy Good Toad Hampton Beach, sunrise surf fishing

Milford Pumpkin Fest 2010

LAST UPDATED 10/11/2010

This years pumpkin festive was HUGE!  About 3 weeks ago I had on my "To Do" list the note to contact the pumpkin fest committee to see if they wanted me to set up a booth again this year (I've been there about 6 times in the past 8 years or so).  Before I could get to that item on my list I got an email from THEM asking if I would like to be a part of the fun.  Great timing.  I contacted my daughter Jen who assured me she would be able to make it too.

I was there for Saturday and Sunday.  Jen and her boyfriend Ted could only be there for Saturday.  We spent the time catching up, carving pumpkin and just enjoying the beautiful weather and excited crowds of guests.  It was a great weekend and I am now exhausted!

If you see a photo that interests you, and you would like a high resolution copy, feel free to send me email and, time permitting, I will email a copy to you.  These high resolution images are around 3496 X 2592 pixels, jpeg compressed and are about 3MB in size.  Family and friends get precedence of my time when requesting high res copies.  In all cases, the image is provided for personal use only (no businesses without prior written permission from Jim Flis) and any use must provide recognition of myself as the carver and the photographer.

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dsc09730.jpg (41980 bytes) I wanted to get a few pumpkins carved before the festival so that guests would have some finished pumpkins to view at the very beginning.  The first for this year was the skull.  I first did this one last year and just love the effect of this carving.
dsc09732.jpg (43295 bytes) And, having become one of my trademark pumpkins, I did another Jimi Hendrix pumpkin.  This one always gets the most attention and is my most popular carving, bar none.
dsc09736.jpg (69262 bytes) Unlit, it is often hard to see what the image is of.  Most often, the viewer will focus on the central area of exposed white and not see the whole image until it is lit.
dsc09737.jpg (82517 bytes) The lighting was very bad for photo's in the early am, but here is my booth set up along side the Destination Imagination booth.  I was their supporting DI and donated a pumpkin for them to raffle off
dsc09739.jpg (106850 bytes) This rear view of my booth shows the clutter that is almost unavoidable when doing a display booth that is also an active carving booth.  Tools and junk EVERYWHERE! LOL
dsc09740.jpg (99089 bytes) And I was worried that I may not have brought enough pumpkins with me...  I forgot that this was a PUMPKIN fest and finding extra pumpkins would NOT be a problem...
dsc09743.jpg (113985 bytes) The fest was in full swing by 10 am and everyone was getting into the act, including this cute gnome. 
dsc09744.jpg (97696 bytes) Jennifer and her boyfriend Ted joined me for the day.  Jen is an accomplished carver in her own right and is seen here working on her mummy pumpkin.
dsc09745.jpg (80460 bytes) A close up showing the carving technique.  We draw the image we are carving and then, using razor knives and wood carving chisels, we carve away JUST the skin of the pumpkin, leaving the pumpkin meat intact.
dsc09746.jpg (70619 bytes) A close up of the work so far.  It is often nearly impossible to see what the actual image is until you light them up.  The effect is quite dramatic.
dsc09747.jpg (87333 bytes) A close up of the hand detail that she has yet to carve.  She began this pumpkin and then realized there was more to this carving than she first thought.  What she had hoped would be a 1-hour pumpkin turned into a 3-hour marathon of carving.  The results were fantastic though!
dsc09749.jpg (86917 bytes) And here's daddy carving his pumpkin showing the Milford Oval during the pumpkin fest.  This is the pumpkin that I donated to DI for the raffle.  This gave folks a chance to see me carving the raffle pumpkin and then check out the final work when complete.  This one took about 3 hours as well (drawing and carving combined)
dsc09750.jpg (79207 bytes) Close up showing the details of the carving process.
dsc09751.jpg (80591 bytes) Jen's mummy, complete but unlit.  Hard to really tell WHAT it is...
dsc09752.jpg (54599 bytes) Until you light it up!  Incredible detail in this one.  Makes all the work worthwhile when you see the finished product 
dsc09755.jpg (69773 bytes) Here we see Jen working on her second pumpkin, a portrait of Elvis Presley.
dsc09756.jpg (70408 bytes) We even got Ted into it!  Ted came with the intent to get some homework done and when finished found he didn't have much to do so I spent a few minutes with him, showing him the technique.  We gave him a simpler subject to carve and off he went!
dsc09759.jpg (66117 bytes) Here's a close up of the Elvis pumpkin that Jen is working on.  You can see the original artwork in the lower right.
dsc09760.jpg (80349 bytes) Pumpkins such as this are more easily recognized unlit, as you can clearly see Elvis in this, the finished pumpkin.  You will see this one lit shortly.
dsc09761.jpg (99388 bytes) Jim and Ted work on their pumpkins as the festival is in full swing.
dsc09762.jpg (87843 bytes) We were right in the center of the Milford oval and had a lot of heavy traffic all day long.  I would say that we had at least 1500 people stop to view our pumpkin display, which got larger and larger as the day went on.  The cardboard box you see was used as a dark room so that the folks could peer inside to see lit pumpkins.
dsc09763.jpg (69895 bytes) When Ted started to carve his pumpkin we discovered that it was a green (unripe) pumpkin!  Our first thought was "BUMMER, man...", but in the end, we realized that the weird coloring of the green pumpkin actually lent itself to an interesting look on the carving.
dsc09768.jpg (39953 bytes) And it looked spectacular when lit! :)

Understand, this was Ted's FIRST ever pumpkin carving using this technique.  I try to tell folks that it is NOT hard to do.  It is just tedious and meticulous and you have to be willing to spend a lot longer with a pumpkin than you normally would.

dsc09765.jpg (47548 bytes) Here is Jen's Elvis pumpkin lit up.  Both this one and Ted's "Burnt Guy" pumpkin attracted an incredible amount of attention.  One of the things I've noticed over the years is that folks don't expect "non-Halloween" themes on pumpkins, but they certainly appreciate them.
dsc09769.jpg (78614 bytes) Here is the front of our booth later in the day.  The sun is in a better position for pictures.  You can see the viewing box and the lit pumpkin inside.  Many were afraid to look inside as they thought it was a joke that would scare them LOL
dsc09770.jpg (75654 bytes) Here is our display so far showing, from left to right, the Milford pumkin, mummy, Elvis and my skull
dsc09771.jpg (92462 bytes) As it got darker we realized we could get rid of the viewing box and light up ALL of the pumpkins.  This created quite the rats nest on the power strip.  Ted seems to be saying "don't try this at home, kids!"...
dsc09772.jpg (97154 bytes) With all of the pumpkins lit up on the table we started to attract even more attention.  You couldn't miss seeing the lit pumpkins now.  At times we had guests nested 3 deep trying to get a look.
dsc09774.jpg (84047 bytes) The kids really fell in love with these unique pumpkins.
dsc09775.jpg (76834 bytes) Often you saw adults walk by and not give them a second look, thinking they were cheap plastic pumpkins that were purchased.  Once they discovered that they were real, hand carved pumpkins they were quite surprized.
dsc09777.jpg (94056 bytes) Here, Ted and I give the display table a good look to see how they all look lit (we don't get to see them as often as you may think LOL)
dsc09778.jpg (64451 bytes) We encourage the kids (and adults) to touch the pumpkins so that they can see that they are real, honest to goodness pumpkins.
dsc09779.jpg (70584 bytes) Here is our display table once we got all of our pumpkins done and lit up for the crowd.
dsc09782.jpg (69116 bytes) I'm overlooking the pumpkin display.
dsc09783.jpg (63259 bytes) A nice view of the line of pumpkins
dsc09784.jpg (84730 bytes) We spent the evening looking at the back of the pumpkins... 
dsc09786.jpg (41367 bytes) Another pix of Jen's mummy pumpkin.  
dsc09787.jpg (32797 bytes) Hard to see the details, but throughout the night both Ted and Jen continued to work on the finer details of their pumpkins, seemingly never quite satisfied.  I have to say that, in both cases, they did greatly improve on their artwork with this extra bit of work, but it was driving me NUTS! LOL
dsc09788.jpg (89252 bytes) As it got darker, the effect of the lit pumpkins became greater as they could be seen from further away and more and more folks stopped by to view them.
dsc09790.jpg (25819 bytes) This one has become another favorite of mine.  Mainly because it has such a dramatic look to it but only takes about 10 minutes to drawn and carve.  Very nice!
dsc09791.jpg (38301 bytes) The final Elvis after and hour of extra touch up and shading...  Looking good!  I taught this technique to Jen when she was old enough to hold a knife and she has been exploring it ever since.  She has now become better than her dad at this techique!
dsc09795.jpg (56962 bytes) A close up of the mummy's hand shows the level of detail in this particular carving.
dsc09797.jpg (37440 bytes) This is a better image of the skull pumpkin
dsc09798.jpg (51661 bytes) And one of the Milford oval pumpkin.  Not seen in this photo is the detail at the top of the church tower.  You can actually see the N-S in the weathervane atop the building.
dsc09799.jpg (54847 bytes) Another skull that has become very popular.  I like this one as it is very easy to carve (quick) and looks very nice on a pumpkin.
dsc09805.jpg (72094 bytes) We recommend that customers only light their pumpkins for 20-30 minutes a day so that they don't cook'em and they last longer.  We've had these lit for hours now and popped the lids off and turned them off for a while to let them cool down a bit.
dsc09806.jpg (41215 bytes) Closing out the night I saw this little girl admiring the pumpkins and couldn't resist this innocent picture.
dsc09808.jpg (89455 bytes) Jen and Ted were not able to attend the 2nd day of the festival, but they left their pumpkins for the display (THANKS!).  Here is my booth on day 2.  I added a second viewing box so that I could keep 4 pumpkins lit all day.  I rotated them so that no one pumpkin would get over heated.
dsc09809.jpg (33496 bytes) Inside the boxes, this is what the guests would get to see.
dsc09811.jpg (43072 bytes) And, the other box as well.
dsc09812.jpg (56104 bytes) I added these signs so that the folks would know what the boxes (and viewing holes) were for.  It certainly helped!
dsc09813.jpg (89096 bytes) This is the Destination Imagination booth along side me.  We were their as a group.  They offered raffles as well as pumpkin carving services for guests throughout the weekend.
dsc09814.jpg (97968 bytes) The rear of their booth shows their sign.  We were set up so that we had guests all around our booths so there really wasn't a "front" and "back"
dsc09815.jpg (75568 bytes) We also had the live entertainment in the center of the oval so music filled the air all day.  It was great!
dsc09816.jpg (100026 bytes) The crowds were just as strong today.  This festival has become a landmark event for the Milford area.
dsc09818.jpg (86536 bytes) I couldn't resist.... I saw this most beautiful King Charles Spaniel.  At 4 months old, he was just adorable!  We have a Cocker Spaniel and just love the whole spaniel breed.
DSC09819crop.jpg (58257 bytes) On this second day of the festival I carved this Ray Charles pumpkin
dsc09822.jpg (50111 bytes) As well as this spider pumpkin.  That's it for pumpkins so far for this year.  I will have more up as I get them carved, so keep watch!
DSC09823crop.jpg (40075 bytes) The final montage of pumpkins.  We really cooked these things this weekend and none were suitable for selling.  Rather than just let'em rot, I gave 4 of them away to our neighbor kids with a promise to teach them the technique.
It was a great pumpkin festival and gave me the reason to get into my seasonal pumpkin carving.  It was wonderful spending the day with Jen and Ted and I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.  As I add new pumpkin pictures to this album, I will put newer pictures on top so that they are easier to find.  Come back often and, if you are in the area and would like a pumpkin, drop me a line!


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