Saturday, October 25th
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Bring your scariest pumpkin and spiciest chili to our Pumpkin Carving Contest and Chili Cook Off! We'll have prizes and two categories, one for kids and one for adults. The winners will be chosen by popular choice, so come and vote for your favorites.
Why do we carve pumpkins on Halloween?
The practice of decorating "jack-o'-lanterns" originated in Ireland, were they where used to ward off evil spirits. The name comes from the old Irish legend of Stingy Jack.
The Legend of Stingy Jack
According to the legend, Jack was having drinks with the Devil at the local pub. But when the bill came Jack didn't want to pay up, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin to buy their drinks. But once Jack had a bright, shiny coin in his hand, he was just too stingy to let it go. Jack dropped the coin into his pocket next to a silver cross, which trapped the Devil in his coin form. The Devil pleaded with Jack to let him go. Eventually, Jack released him with the stipulation that when he died, the Devil couldn't claim Jack's soul.
Soon after, Jack died. After living such an unseemly life, he was turned away from the pearly gates. When Jack showed up looking for quarter in hell, the Devil had his revenge. He kept his word and wouldn't allow Jack enter, exiling him to wander the night for eternity. Devil laughed and kicked him a burning ember from hell to light his way. Jack put the coal in a turnip, creating a make-shift lantern, and sadly took his solitary way. From that day forward he was known not as Stingy Jack but as Jack of the Lantern or Jack O'Lantern.
Originally, turnips, potatoes and beets we're used to make the grinning jack o'lanterns which children were told kept Jack and his ghoulish friends at bay. Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America, home of the pumpkin, and it became a major part of Halloween celebrations throughout the country.