CARVING CONTEST – Blue Ribbon Events hosted an inaugural fall activity, Pumpkins in the Park, this past weekend at Furtaw Field in Oscoda – and plans are already in the works to bring the successful affair back to the township in 2021. Along with an arts and crafts show, there was a pet Halloween costume parade, chili cook-off, cider sampling and a pumpkin carving contest. Getting in on the Saturday carving fun are Roseville residents Katelynn Stirling, 12, shown at left, and Aiden Stirling, 9.

OSCODA – When a new activity comes to town, it can take a few runs before building steam and drawing in the big crowds. But the inaugural Pumpkins in the Park event – held at Furtaw Field in Oscoda this past weekend – brought in not only a large number of attendees, but also 25 vendors from Michigan and roughly nine other states.

Danielle Lynch of Blue Ribbon Events, which hosted the affair on both Saturday and Sunday, said that plans are already in the works to bring Pumpkins in the Park back to the township in 2021.

Her organization held other events at Furtaw Field this summer, but she shared that last weekend welcomed the largest number of vendors to the site, by far. The festivities included an arts and crafts show, chili cook-off, hot and cold cider tastings, a pumpkin carving contest and a pet Halloween costume parade.

The merchants and artists offered up an impressive array of goods, such as distinct jewelry; paintings; hand-blown glass items; wind chimes; clothing; yard décor; pottery; hand-carved hummingbird houses; baked treats; and a book signing opportunity with author Michael Carrier.

Lynch noted that everyone seemed to be getting into the spirit, and buying a lot of fall-related merchandise.

This was also evident with the number of guests who were spotted wearing colorful clothes – in keeping with the theme of the season – and even full-on Halloween costumes.

Each of the artists were also enjoying the fall-time fun. They were willing to answer any questions, and happy to share their stories with the event goers.

Several of the booths really grabbed the attention of the crowd, including the display by Lamps From the Attic owners Allen and Edna Danielsen, of Mount Joy, Pa. Their items were a prime example of the one-of-a-kind finds that were available during Pumpkins in the Park.

The Danielsens scour antique shops in search of treasures, preferably those authentic and American made, which they then transform into lamps. They have incorporated into their designs everything from classic cameras, wooden pulleys and car parts, to antique toys, model trains, tea pots and much more.

Augmenting Lynch’s comments about the success of Pumpkins in the Park, Allen noted that there was a good crowd at the event, and a steady stream of people visiting the vendors.

This sentiment was shared by Kurt Greening, who manned the booth for Paul’s Gourmet Jerky, based in Kent City. He said that Saturday was a great day, with the warm temperatures giving the event an even bigger boost. In fact, his station was so busy that he worried he may run out of product. So, he planned to travel that evening to pick up more of hickory smoked snacks, to ensure there would be enough for day two of the occasion.

Greening also took part in the chili cook-off and claimed the second-place, $50 cash prize, following a vote by the taste testers in the crowd. His batch featured such ingredients as buffalo, peanut butter, sirloin steak and fresh garden vegetables.

First place honors – and the $100 cash prize – went to Kaden Mahan, 12, Hillman, for his spicy Western chili.

Also participating was Oscoda resident Abigail Hughes, who whipped up a sweet barbecue chili for the event. She is a familiar face at the local farmers market, as well, selling bread from Sunrise Loaves.

Those who enjoy a little friendly competition also had an opportunity to get in on the pumpkin carving contest. “It’s more for fun than anything,” Lynch said. Taking first place and winning the $20 prize was Anna Lopez, 7, Oscoda.

Awards were also handed out to the four-legged participants of the pet Halloween costume parade. It was 12-year-old Labrador mix Lexi – sporting a banana split outfit – who stole the show and earned the first place, $20 prize for creativity.

The other competitors – including the owner of a canine sporting bat wings, and another dressed as a princess – also received prizes, such as their choice of earrings from Beverly Ann’s Jewelry.

For further details on Blue Ribbon Events, including information on upcoming shows and activities, visit www.daniellesblueribbonevents.com.