Submissions for the first-ever Harlan County Courthouse Pumpkin Square Contest are currently being sought and will be accepted throughout the week until Thursday.
“Pumpkin Square,” which takes place Oct. 30, is being organized by the Harlan County Arts Council in an effort to promote the arts downtown and to add to Harlan County’s Halloween festivities.
“Some of the most creative art you can see is pumpkin carvings and pumpkin decorations,” said HCAC President Jennifer McDaniels. “We’ve seen these types of displays elsewhere, and thought wouldn’t it be great to bring this tradition to Harlan County?”
HCAC members are currently working hard to get as many artistically carved and decorated pumpkins to fill the Courthouse lawn on Friday. “Pumpkin Square” will be all aglow Friday during “Trick-Or-Treat on Main” from of 3-5 p.m. Pumpkins will remain lit until 10 p.m. People are encouraged to come to the courthouse lawn on Friday to walk through the maze of artistically designed pumpkins and to enjoy some of the festivities that will be taking place at the courthouse.
Local DJ Mark Lawson will be playing Halloween-themed music at the courthouse gazebo from 3-5 p.m. pm, local fitness instructor Stacey Madon will lead a community “Thriller” dance at 5 p.m. at the gazebo. Artists Attic President Elizabeth Lewis will have a “Scary Art” exhibit on display, and HCAC members will be present to take photographs of trick-or-treaters for a fee of $10.
“Pumpkin Square” contest judging will take place at 4 p.m., at which time ribbons, cash prizes and trophies will be awarded.
Contest categories include adult carving, adult art, youth carving and youth art. Youth includes ages 15 and under, and the art categories includes painting and any type of decorations or applications that does not include carving. First, second, and third-place ribbons will be awarded in each category, and $50 cash prizes will be awarded to first place winners. A “Pumpkin Square” traveling trophy will be awarded to the business, civic organization of club that has the best entry, and a traveling trophy will also be awarded to the school that has the most entries.
Contest submissions are free and can be dropped off at the Harlan County Courthouse through Thursday, from 5-8 p.m. each night.
“We’re hoping to get hundreds!” McDaniels said. “We hope the courthouse lawn will be totally lit up with some of the finest pumpkin carvings and art you’ve ever seen! This is a great way for people to show off their artistic abilities and to have a little Halloween fun in the process. This is also a great way for businesses, civic organizations and clubs to show their community spirit and to advertise. We’re hoping schools will show their school pride, and that local endeavors, like cancer relay, domestic violence awareness and other outreaches will submit pumpkins, too. I’ve seen some pretty dazzling pink pumpkins that would be perfect to enter because October is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”
McDaniels said local entities are being supportive of the contest and event. She said Harlan Fiscal Court and WTUK-FM Radio Station were the event’s biggest sponsors. Other local businesses and residents were also donating, and McDaniels said a list of ‘Pumpkin Square” sponsors will be printed on a sign during the event on the courthouse lawn on Friday.
In its effort to be environmentally responsible as well as of help to county farmers, HCAC members are also making sure the pumpkins are being properly disposed of. For those pumpkins that are not picked up, they will be gathered and delivered for compost.
“The county is pleased to partner up with the Harlan County Arts Council on this event,” said Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley. “We realize how important anything artistic adds to the well-being of our communities. We’re also looking forward to everyone coming to the courthouse Friday night.”
For more information about “Pumpkin Square,” or how you can submit contest entries, contact McDaniels at 606-573-4223.