September 16, 2020

Annual Hopewell Pumpkin Carve Will Be a Drive-Through Event

DRIVE-THROUGH PUMPKIN CARVE: The Amazing Pumpkin Carve will be viewed from vehicles this year, but the Hopewell Valley Arts Council is confident that the October 7-11 event at Woolsey Park will be as engaging as in previous years. (Photo by Michael Davies)

By Anne Levin

For the Hopewell Valley Arts Council (HVAC), turning the Amazing Pumpkin Carve into a drive-through event was a challenge that had to be met. Now in its sixth year, the annual celebration of art, music, food, dance, and all things Halloween, held at Woolsey Park in Titusville, has become the organization’s major fundraiser.

Thanks to social distancing restrictions of the pandemic, holding the event in the usual manner was not a possibility this year. “It was a festival, where  you’d come in, walk around, listen to live music, have food — more like coming to a fair,” said Carol Lipson, HVAC executive director. “We couldn’t do that. So we had to get creative. That’s how we got the idea for making the festival a drive-through event.”

From October 7 to 11, viewers will be able to cruise through the park in their cars. As in previous years, 40 pumpkins will be carved and electrified by local artists and displayed in illuminated tents. Participants will drive up and receive an event program, listen to live or DJ’d music, and take quick, socially distanced photo ops. Visitors will receive a free mini-pumpkin while supplies last, and popcorn and cider will be available for purchase.

“We’ll have music piped into cars while people are waiting in line to get in,” said Lipson. “We’ll also have live music Friday and Saturday nights from 7 to 9 p.m. On Sunday all day, a DJ has volunteered to be here.”

The oversized pumpkins the artists carve are from Lancaster, Pa. “They are huge,” said Lipson, “about three feet tall and three feet wide. It was a really good year for pumpkins, for some reason, and there was a bumper crop.”

Participating artists were asked to consider decorating not just the pumpkins, but their individual tents. The pumpkins are mounted on hay bales, so all will be visible from the vehicles.

Several corporations and individual sponsors have help finance this year’s festival. As soon as word got out about the drive-through event, tickets started to sell. “The community is amazing,” said Lipson. “And the artists, too — we have a waiting list of carvers. So many want to take part. Half professional artists, and half are just creative people. Every year, most of the same people come back. But we keep a certain number of spots for new people.”

The 40 in this year’s competition will spend all day Wednesday, October 7, hard at work in their tents. “It’s so interesting to watch them,” said Lipson. “They put on their headsets and do their thing. They really don’t want us to bother them.”

The festival begins October 7, from 7 to 9 p.m. On Thursday and Friday, October 8 and 9, viewing hours are 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 per vehicle with up to six occupants; $40 per vehicle with more than six; or $100 per bus. Visit for tickets, hours, and other information.

“There have been so many bad memories this year,” said Lipson. “If we can do something to provide a nice evening of fun for the family, and keep some tradition going, we are happy to do that.”