KENTVILLE - The annual pumpkin walk in Kentville is a great opportunity for NSCC students to get involved in their local community, says Nicole Robinson from the college’s faculty of tourism and hospitality management.
“Not to mention, the community might get mad at us if we stopped as it's become an annual event for some families.” she says.
For the fifth year in a row, on Oct. 17 tourism students under Robinson’s guidance will host the annual pumpkin walk at Miner’s Marsh in Kentville. Visitors walk in single file around the marsh, seeing the spectacularly carved jack-o’-lanterns.
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This year, Robinson says there will be about 400 carved pumpkins to see. Tourism students begin carving three days prior to the event, using many of their own ideas or drawing inspiration from local or international events taking place. The internet has loads of templates as well, she adds.
“Having to clean out 400 pumpkins is not an easy task,” says Robinson. “It’s super messy!”
In addition to those pumpkins carved by the students, students reach out to local businesses, getting them on board to carve some themselves. Robinson says that businesses contribute approximately 90 of the carved pumpkins, with some businesses donating six sometimes. Stirlings and the Town of Kentville donate the majority of the pumpkins, she says.
The planning and execution of the pumpkin walk is part of the curriculum and community service for these students, explains Robinson. Multiple courses they are taking have a direct connection. For instance, writing letters to the business community is connected to their communications course, and there is also an event-planning course that students receive credit for.
Entrance to the event is by in-kind donations, food bank donations for Chrysalis House and NSCC’s food bank - or for free. It’s open to all, says Robinson.
“Each year we have enough food donations to fill the college’s food bank to the brim,” says Robinson. “The students have also raised $10,000 over the last few years that paid for the specialty lights on the bridge at the marsh.”
When coming to the event, Robinson advises visitors to enter through the parking lot by the marsh behind the courthouse, rather than taking the path through on Leverett Ave. She also says to bring a flashlight and to leave your dogs at home.
“It is a safety issue and dogs have 364 days to enjoy the park, we are just asking for one,” says Robinson.
There are many reasons people are asked to leave dogs as it is dark and, if they poop, someone may step in it. Dogs meeting dogs in a dark place can be a challenge, and because of the crowds, many people may be nervous of furry friends, so we want everyone to enjoy the event, she says.
All pumpkins are free for the taking at 8:30 p.m. sharp - and not sooner. Robinson says this is one of the best parts of the event. She loves seeing the kids stand over their favourite pumpkin at the end of the night, guarding it so no one can take that one home instead of them.
If you go: The fifth annual pumpkin walk will be held on Oct. 17 at Miners Marsh in Kentville, with Oct. 18 as the rain date. The event will go from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Learn more about the pumpkin walk on its Facebook event page.