As you have probably heard by now, Great Pumpkin LumiNights has been a tremendous success thanks to the support we’ve received from all of you so far! We knew this event would be a game-changer for our Harvest Festival, but I don’t think any of us anticipated how much you would enjoy it.
Obviously, the featured attraction of Great Pumpkin LumiNights is the thousands of intricately-carved, masterfully-arranged pumpkins. They are so crucial to the event that we put pumpkin right up there in the title. With so much of the festival riding on these bright orange gourds, we decided it would be helpful to have someone visit us during October who knows a thing or two about making them shine.
Enter the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers from Brooklyn, New York. Marc Evan and his team at Maniac Pumpkin Carvers are truly artists, or as I have enjoyed calling them, “Pumpkin Picassos.” They carve hundreds of pumpkins each year for a number of clients, including nationally-recognized customers like The Today Show, Good Morning America, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, and the list goes on and on. With experience like this, they had to be part of Great Pumpkin LumiNights here at Dollywood.
I was lucky enough to take Marc for some media appearances in the Tri-Cities and Knoxville. During our time in the car together, I thought I would chat with Marc to see if I could glean any advanced tips that would help me carve like the professionals. After all, I have a two-year-old and a couple hundred trick-or-treaters I need to impress later this month.
I learned a number of things about making a pumpkin look like a frame-able piece of art. The most important thing I learned? The fact that I definitely don’t have the skill to do what they do. However, I did learn a few things that can help your pumpkin look its best throughout the harvest season.
First, Marc does a lot of his most-impressive work by carving the outside of the pumpkin without puncturing the fruit—yes, a pumpkin is indeed a fruit. Once you poke a hole through the entirety, the clock begins ticking on how long it will remain fresh.
Second, Marc explained that the cooler the pumpkin stays, the longer it typically lasts. Obviously, every pumpkin is different, but lower temperatures help them stay looking nicer. While we were on the road, he carved a special pumpkin I wanted to use for a TV segment the next day. What did he suggest? Wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator…which I did, after rearranging everything we had in there.
Finally, while you may not have the skills of Marc, the right tools and environment can help make things go a little more smoothly. Marc travels with a tool kit full of special instruments designed to help create the perfect pumpkin masterpiece. While you don’t need to spend a lot of money on the right tools, the cheap pumpkin carving kit I purchased at the store for a couple of bucks probably isn’t the best! Marc also has a great work space from which to operate, while inquisitive and awe-struck guests watch him do his magic all while telling him how talented he is at what he does. I work on the floor of my garage, while the aforementioned two-year-old asks me if she can have more Goldfish crackers. Advantage again goes to Marc.
Either way, we’re both making memories we’ll remember forever. However, I’m pretty sure my favorite harvest/pumpkin carving moments from 2017 are going to be taking the time with my family at Dollywood to watch the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers do what they do best.
I’ve included a few pictures of what the Maniac Pumpkin Carvers currently have on display. I would show you one of mine, but I’m going to pretend my camera wouldn’t work when I tried to take the picture.