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Festival Uses 7,000 Pumpkins for Art Installation

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

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An annual Halloween art installation festival is celebrating its 13th season with bigger and better pieces, constructed of more than 7,000 pumpkins.

The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in New York’s Hudson Valley (just down the road from Sleepy Hollow) is orchestrated by artist Michael Natiello along with a team of 12 carvers, carpenters, lighting designers and nearly 3,000 volunteers.

The Blaze takes place at the historic grounds of Van Cortlandt Manor, an 18th-century historic landmark, and creators say that the festival’s elaborate designs are used to help bring appreciation to the architecture of the site.

Throughout the Blaze’s entirety, 200,000 pounds of pumpkins are used each year and about 1,000 are replaced weekly. In addition to the real gourds, the artists also use fake “Funkins.”

"We use a mix of real pumpkins and artificial, carvable pumpkins called Funkins,” Rob Schweitzer, Vice President of Communications and Commerce for Historic Hudson Valley, told Westchester Magazine.

“We really start in earnest the end of August with carving Funkins. Then, we’re carving real pumpkins throughout the run of the event, because we’re replacing about a thousand pumpkins every week.”

Among the installations are zoo animals, spider webs, dinosaurs, shrunken heads, a pumpkin planetarium and a 25-foot Statue of Liberty.

This year’s biggest installment, however, is a 20-foot working carousel designed by Williams Dentzel.

The festival began at the beginning of October, running all month long, and will continue to run through extended weekends in November. The event is expected to attract about 175,000 visitors.

“It’s a way to sneak art into kids’ life, because it is an art installation,” Natiello told CBS. “I want people to have a sense of wonderment, a sense of awe and appreciate the magic and the mystery. And just forget about life! This is an escape from reality at least for 45 minutes.”


Tagged categories: Aesthetics; Architecture; Artists; Color + Design; Design; Design build

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