Carve a pumpkin for cause, community

Photo courtesy Trenton Parks and Recreation

Great Pumpkin Festival
Exchange Club of Trenton volunteers Kay Sidebottom (left), Ray Phillips and Ira Newbauer were among the carvers prepared to personalize their jack-o’-lanterns.

Sunday Times Newspapers

TRENTON — The only thing better than some classic autumn fun is to have a record-setting goal: Both can be found at Trenton’s Great Pumpkin Festival, with creative pumpkin carving en route to topping the local mark for most lit pumpkins.

Joann Perna, assistant director of Trenton Parks and Recreation, said the annual carving party launched in 2006 with the goal of 500 hollowed-out Halloween symbols lighting the Trenton Cultural Center.

“We’ve increased it every year, but we kind of peaked at around 1,200,” Perna said. “We’re hoping this year exceeds that, but it takes volumes of people to help carve them.”

The community event kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Bridge Cultural Center, 2427 West Road, where an assembly line of pumpkin carving will be hosted. Residents are free to bring their pumpkin and make their creation on site, or do the carving at home and show up at 3 p.m. with a carved pumpkin (including 3-inch votive candle inside) to participate in the display. The DTE Energy Community Nite Lite ceremony begins at 6 p.m., and the official count will be taken at 7 p.m.

More than community pride is at stake: Sponsor DTE will donate $1 for every lit pumpkin on display to First Step Domestic Violence Center, a Downriver outreach program. The Great Pumpkin Festival is sponsored by Trenton Firefighters Charities and the Exchange Club of Trenton.

“Its’ a great community event, bringing the community together for a great cause,” Perna said. “And it’s fun to see the display.”

For more information, call Trenton Parks and Recreation at 734-675-7300.

(James Mitchell can be reached at