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C-K AutumnFest celebrates annual Pumpkin House

Oct. 17, 2010 @ 11:15 PM

They don't call Ric Griffith the Pumpkin Man because he's got a round head. Nope, the good mayor of Kenova, and business owner of Griffith and Feil Pharmacy, is known as the Pumpkin Man because there's not a pumpkin within 300 miles safe from his carving knife.

Griffith and a small army of volunteers are set to carve more than 3,000 jack-o-lanterns at Griffith's 1891-built Victorian home (once visited by President Grover Cleveland) on Saturday, Oct. 23.

And this year to celebrate the annual Pumpkin House, the communities of Ceredo and Kenova are starting a multi-layered event called C-K AutumnFest.

Starting Saturday, Griffith, who has helped carve up more than 30,000 pumpkins since 1978, will begin scooping and carving the pumpkins. The plan is to have the display completed by Thursday or Friday, Oct. 28-29. The Pumpkins will stay lit throughout the night from the time they are carved to the time they rot, about a week after Halloween.

At 8, 8:30 and 9 p.m., on Oct. 28, 29, 30 and 31, stop by while local celebrities read "The Headless Horseman" and "The Raven."

In addition to the festivities at the one-of-a-kind Pumpkin House (home to the pumpkin orchestra), Ceredo-Kenova will host lots of new activities including its first AutumnFest Parade at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 26, with a 20-foot-tall lighted pumpkin at McDonald's.

Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 28-31, street vendors will be set up on Beech Street near the Pumpkin House to serve the thousands of folks that visit the display of hand-carved pumpkins. The Wonder Dome in Kenova will be home to a juried craft show from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 29, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30.

Nancy Price, the treasurer of the AutumnFest board and the C-K Area Business Association representative to the board, said that Griffith came up with the idea and everyone has run with it.

"It's a great idea, and it was the idea of Ric Griffith who is full of good ideas," Price said. "Ric had made the comment that hundreds of little towns have festivals and hardly anybody comes, while we have tens of thousands of people who come to see the Pumpkin House and we don't even have a festival. We are trying to fix that."

Price said many folks in both communities, including Ed and Kim Layman, have really stepped up to organize the multiple events that will take place in both cities, which are side-by-side along U.S. 60.

Price said the business association stepped in take responsibility for three events as well as a map tour brochure that will give times, dates and places for the plethora of events, and area native Brad Smith, the CEO of Intuit, helped the fest build and then host a website.

"One of the driving reasons for this is to build awareness of our community," Price said. "The parade takes participants through both towns, and who knows, they may see a new business that we have in town or discover something they didn't know was there before, which gives you a residual effect after the festival is over."

Many of the main events are set for Saturday, Oct. 30, when there will be many activities at Ceredo Plaza. A cruise-in will take place from noon to 5 p.m. with registration from 9 a.m. until noon. Door prizes will be awarded all afternoon, with a grand prize of a five-day, four-night stay in Gatlinburg, Tenn., courtesy of 93.7, the Dawg. This prize is valid for one year, and includes tickets for two people to several Gatlinburg attractions and shows.

Also in the plaza on Oct. 30 will be a bake off with awards in several categories. Entry deadline for the bake-off is Oct. 26, and all items must be presented and registered by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30, at the plaza, there will be live entertainment on stage with Traci Ann Stanley, Katie Owens and Leatherwood, KYOVA, Ronald McDonald and more. There will be "Minute To Win It" games for children.

Ward-Craycraft Stadium will be the location of a First Responders' equipment display and demonstration. There will be emergency vehicles, a medical helicopter, police cars and a chance to meet the men and women who put their lives on the line every day to make the communities a safe place to live, work and play.

Saturday night, Oct. 30, Ceredo will host the annual Ceredo Halloween Block Party. Additionally, the Z.D. Ramsdell House will be hosting readings and ghost stories at the house on B Street in Ceredo.

Information booths will be set up at Ceredo Plaza and near the Pumpkin House. The C-K Area Business Association will sponsor a map tour brochure that will show the locations of the decorating contest winners, as well as the locations of all activities in the community.

Visit www.ckautumnfest.com for information and entry forms for all events and activities.

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