A Peanuts Halloween, The Hulk, Bilbo Baggins’ hobbit house complete with a miniature, framed print of Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”; a towering witch with her ghosts, an elephant head, an unusual holiday fairy, sea creatures and more were captured by artists using pumpkins as their canvas. The large fruits lining Main Street in Damariscotta were part of a pared down Pumpkinfest.
“They are beautiful, surprising, comical ...,” said Claire Sommer, volunteer administrative co-chair for the event. “People are happy the giant pumpkins are back, in what continues to be an odd year.”
There are 60-plus pumpkins, including the hay bales covered to look like the fall fruit and painted. One such “pumpkin” bears the event name and welcomes fans.
Artist Mari McGuire of Gardiner and East Boothbay created a pumpkin commemorating “The Night Witches,” Russia’s female pilots during WWII. “The whooshing noise from their wooden bi-planes was similar to the sound of a sweeping broom,” said McGuire.
McGuire has lived seasonally on Ocean Point since the 70s. She has a collection of painted rocks at the entry of her driveway on Shore Road. Those painted rocks are considerably smaller than the Maine-shaped one McGuire erected near the pumpkin honoring the final 13 soldiers killed in Afghanistan.
“I listed each of these veterans’ names on the flag’s 13 stripes on a Maine-shaped rock, with, of course, 13 stars. I’m a daughter of two veterans, the wife of one, and the mother of yet another,” said McGuire. “Plus I was a bartender for the military in Germany for three years, and I retired from Togus. So, I love to honor any veteran.”
For a complete list of pumpkin locations, artists and sponsors, visit www.mainepumpkinfest.com. McGuire’s pumpkin was near Round Top ice cream.
The pumpkins are pulled from the trail based on deterioration. Some just need a bit of repair, like the elephant just past the fish market heading up Main Street.
“People just love the pumpkins! The business community said the town has been busier than ever,” Sommer said. “It all worked out really beautifully.”