Scott Cully knows a thing or two about turning an 1,800-pound pumpkin into a work of art. The one-time world record holder (according to the kids at Guinness), Cully will return to the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest on Saturday, Oct. 20, to demonstrate his talents all day long.
Cully manages a nursery in Lowell, Ore., southeast of Eugene. They prepare blueberry plants for farmers. In his spare time, Cully loves nothing so much as paring pumpkin. He uses a 3-inch paring knife to whittle his squash into fantastic visages.
It all started back in 1987, when Cully lived in the Northeast. He and a friend, armed with a couple of bottles of hard cider, tackled a 400-pound pumpkin. He kept at it, working his way to a world record in 2010, since eclipsed.
“To carve a world-record pumpkin,” he says, “the pumpkin has to exist.”
He had his eyes covetously focused on a 2,009-pound beast back in Massachusetts. Then it rotted and collapsed and headed to the compost heap. C’est la vie.
Emily Curtis, coordinator for the sponsoring Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, says Harvest Fest will have a couple of other interesting twists.
Look for more pie-eating contests than last year. People love to stuff their faces into a mess of crust and cooked fruit. All contests will be open to people over 13 years old.
Curtis also says the fruit and vegetable sellers will now be situated inside the gates, accessible only to people who pay admission to the festival grounds. Previously, fruit and veggie vendors were stationed outside the grounds, so festival-goers could buy and haul off fresh fruit without paying to enter the grounds housing craft, food, beer and other vendors.
Harvest Fest is a fund-raiser for the Chamber, so it makes sense to have one of its chief attractions covered by the price of admission.
Parking south of the festival grounds off the I-84 Exit 63 will again be managed by the Hood River Lions Club. The club encourages motorists to slow down and follow directions to avoid endangering people walking to and from the festival grounds.
Harvest Fest begins on Oct. 19, and concludes on Sunday, Oct. 21. Hours are:
•Friday 1-7 p.m.
• Saturday 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.
• Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.