Despite rain in the forecast, pumpkin artists showed up early on Friday, Oct. 9, to begin carving and painting giant pumpkins on Main Street in Damariscotta.
About a third of the artists assigned began the process of sculpting, painting and decorating 75 pumpkins delivered from Pinkham’s Plantation on Thursday afternoon. Some artists were sheltered by tents while others deferred action until Saturday and drier weather.
Artists and observers commented how this year's crop of art pumpkins appeared larger than in any years since Pumpkinfest began in 2008.
Co-organizer Buzz Pinkham said that this it was a particularly good year for growing pumpkins. There was plenty of sunshine without too many extremely hot days that stunt growth.
“The growers can supply the water,” said Pinkham.
Pinkham gives most of the credit to Bill Clark who began floating motorized pumpkins back in 2006 and has continued to orchestrate the week that began with the weigh-in on Oct. 2 and climaxes with pumpkin races on Monday, Oct. 12.
“The real magic comes when Bill figures out where they have to go,” said Pinkham.
While artists worked on Main Street, a crew was back at Pinkham’s Plantation on the Biscay Road carving out the boats for Monday’s regatta.
Cartoonist Glenn Chadbourne said that his pumpkin was the largest he had painted since he began in 2008. His giant gourd in front of King Eider’s Pub weighed 1,435 pounds.
Always on a horror theme, Chadbourne was not sure how it would turn out but the eventual piece would “drip out of my head” as he moved along.
Artist Susan Bartlett Rice grew the 405-pound pumpkin that she was painting to resemble a hermit crab. She said it fit well with her sponsor, Newcastle Square Realty.
The paintings and carvings will continue on Saturday and will be on view to the public until the pumpkins begin to rot in a few weeks.