WORDS BY BEN DUNGAN
Walt Disney once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”
These aren’t just words you put in a frame and hang on the wall to make you feel good. These are words that are meant to be taken to heart and put into practice.
That’s exactly what Scott Allen and Jimmy Pickering did a little over 20 years ago while working together for Walt Disney Imagineering – the research and development arm of The Walt Disney Company. According to Wikipedia, this group is largely responsible for a lot of the creation, design, and construction of Disney theme parks and attractions worldwide.
During their time working together, they took Walt Disney’s advice to heart. They both had a dream – a dream to write and produce a children’s book.
Together, they dreamed up Somethin’ Pumpkin, a Halloween-themed children’s book about letting your imagination run wild without limits.
Throughout the book, a cast of classic Halloween characters like black cats, witches, ghosts and more show how they take a regular ol’ pumpkin – the universal symbol of Halloween – and turn it into something else.
This children’s book about pumpkins, released over 20 years ago, has come to life here in Gaston County and has been transformed into an annual fall event called the Somethin’ Pumpkin Festival. Sponsored annually by the NC Cooperative Extension in Gaston County, it asks the question: what will you do with your pumpkin this year?
One of those ways you can get involved with this year’s festival is through a pumpkin decorating contest hosted by the NC Cooperative Extension and the Gaston County Public Library. In order to be eligible to win, they only ask you to do one thing – decorate (not carve) your pumpkin using any kind of materials to portray a theme or character from your favorite children’s book.
There’s no shortage of ideas with this criteria. There’s Paddington Bear, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Pete the Cat, Harry Potter or a character from Goodnight Moon. The possibilities are endless, just like Allen and Pickering’s book says.
And while the physical festival may not look like it did in year’s past due to COVID-19, it still will happen virtually.
The pumpkin decorating contest is currently underway and is accepting submissions no later than Thursday, Oct. 1. What’s even better is that it doesn’t cost anything to enter. Even the pumpkin you choose to decorate is free! You can pick up yours at the Gastonia-Main Library at 1555 E. Garrison Blvd between now and Sept. 30.
Allen leaves the reader of Somethin’ Pumpkin with these final words:
“A pumpkin is possibly so many things,
there’s no limit to all of the joy that it brings.
No limits at all, to the things it can be,
I’ll bet you could think up at least two or three!”
So, what will you think up for your pumpkin this year? It may seem like COVID-19 has taken so much away from us this year, but we can’t let it take away our love of Halloween and the joy these pumpkins bring us each year.
To learn more about the 6th Annual Somethin’ Pumpkin Festival and how you can enter the Pumpkin Decorating Contest, visit HERE.