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India Smith, Staff Writer

With a little over a week until Halloween, all things pumpkin are in season. On October 12, 2021 The Nickel Plate Trail hosted a Jack-O-Lantern jaunt where students in grades 1 through 12 were able to show off their pumpkin carving skills. This event, located at 123 W 32nd St., was a way for the community to bring recognition to other trails and or future trails in Connersville. It was also a way to fundraise money for trail development and it is a seasonal activity for the youth to engage in. 

To participate in the Jack-O-Lantern jaunt, the students had to be in, or must have taken, an art class. If they are not currently, or were previously, in an art class they needed to ask one of their art teachers to provide a pumpkin template so that the students could draw their design on it. The finished design had to be turned in by Friday, the 24th of September, when the art teachers picked two student’s designs from each grade. The students were then able to carve their design on a pumpkin that was provided, free of charge, to the school. The supplies were available a week before the event including candles for the pumpkins. There were about 108 pumpkins on the 0.75 mile trail but only the first half of the trail was used for the display. 

The pumpkins were displayed in order of grade level with the trail starting with the first graders designs and ending with the high school senior’s designs. There was 20 feet of distance between the pumpkins, and the students were given a specific place to sit their pumpkin. Students began to place their pumpkins in their spots at 7:00 pm and had to have them ready by 7:30 p.m when the event started. It lasted for one hour and was over at 8:30 p.m. The spectators were also able to “vote” on the pumpkins as a way for the organizers to fundraise money for future trail development. Voters put money into the container that correlates to their favorite pumpkin and the winners were given a prize.

There was also a Facebook event page setup that contained extra information about the event. Including that when the event was over, the students got to take their pumpkins home with them. As well as giving updates about the weather and whether or not the event would have been moved. If both days had poor weather then the entire event would have unfortunately been canceled. This jaunt is not an annual event yet, but could potentially be in the future.