Each year families paint and carve to see if they got what it takes to get a trophy. Carol and Lowell Evans were happy to win, "We've been quite fortunate to do well…last year we won the President’s Award."
But one enduring pumpkin fest figure won't be here. Longtime organizer Wally Thurow passed away in 2012. He was known locally as 'Mr. Pumpkin.' Lowell Evans says, "My impression of him riding the big bicycle in the parade, that's something I'll never forget.
All the proceeds go to non-profit organizations, but they'll also solicit private donations to build a statue of Wally on the corner of Elm and Somonauk St. The life-size statue of Mr. Pumpkin will be located there, so he can look down on the parade route in which he led for so many years. Thurow's passion has had a lasting impact on residents. Malmassari says, “The idea just grew from that: just a single man's idea. And basically it started out simply as a decorating contest for the lion's club, but it very quickly grew into a community event."
Jerome Perez also works on the committee and loves seeing the wide variety of pumpkins: “Just looking at the pumpkins the kids enter--and some of the families--I mean, they're tremendously creative. And just seeing the people around town having a good time. It's a good family event; lots of things for kids to do."
The event kicks off Wednesday night and lasts through Sunday.