One thousand pumpkins are not going to carve themselves.
The organizers of the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow, a Dayton tradition launched 24 years ago, are for the first time opening carving to the general public.
John Edinger of the Grafton Hill Historic District said that could mean you.
“A lot of people want to help and they don’t know how,” he said. “Come for one hour or stay the whole day.”
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🎃 WHEN IS THE STODDARD AVENUE PUMPKIN GLOW?
The community is invited to gut and carve pumpkins in a heated tent near Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, 500 N. Belmonte Park N., from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. the Friday to Monday of Oct. 26, 27, 28 and 29.
The tent will hold about 100 seats for carvers.
“I would love to see every chair filled at all times,” Edinger said.
The free community pumpkin glow will take place 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 and Wednesday, Oct. 31 on the hill next to the church.
🎃WHY ARE VOLUNTEERS NEEDED?
Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow founder Judy Chaffin started carving pumpkins and displaying them on the hill in about 1994. What started as 50 pumpkins grew into a phenomenon for visitors as far away as Canada.
More than 770 jack-o-lanterns were carved for last year’s glow.
“It is special to see that many pumpkins in one place, and all of the pumpkins are unique,” Edinger said.
>> PHOTOS: Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow 2015
The glow took a one-year break in 2016 as Chaffin tackled an health issue.
The pumpkins for the community event had been carved and gutted by Chaffin’s neighbors, friends and family members.
The Grafton Hill Historic District reignited it last year under Edinger’s leadership.
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The pumpkins were carved on his property.
“I didn’t want to invite all of Dayton to come to my house,” Edinger said with a laugh.
The glow will partner more closely with the Greek church this year.
More than 850 pumpkins illuminated a hill near the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Dayton on October 30-31 for the annual Stoddard Ave. Pumpkin Glow. Photos by Dayton.com staff
🎃 WHERE DO I SIGN UP TO HELP?
Pre-registration is not required, but organizers are asking people to sign up at signupgenius.com so they can have a count.
Volunteer meals will be served inside the church. Organizers are seeking donations for shareable snacks and food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
A signup for the potluck is available on signupgenius.com.
Last year, about 250 volunteers carved and gutted pumpkins.
Edinger said many more are needed on all levels. While more elaborate pumpkins can take up to seven hours to complete, most are far simpler.
🎃 HOW DOES IT WORK?
A few pumpkin carving masters do it free handed, but most are carved using patterns.
For the second year, organizers are soliciting sponsors for the glow, which cost about $9,000 to put on in 2017.
About $5,000 from a city of Dayton mini grant are being used. The Greek church and nearby Grandview Medical Center are also supporting the glow.
🎃 HOW MANY PUMPKINS ARE THEY TAKING?
Organizers are asking local farmer Dave Baird to provide 1,000 pumpkins this year, the most ever for the glow. The candles come from Dayton Church Supply in downtown Dayton.
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“It’s been a dream of Judy’s to get to that number, and I would love to get to that number this year,” Edinger said. “Hopeful with more people helping, we can accomplish that without too much trouble.”
Hundreds of carefully carved and beautifully designed Jack-o-Lanterns lit up the night during the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow, Saturday and Sunday Oct. 30-31. (KAMRON TAYLOR/STAFF)