Along The Garden Path: Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow


By Charlene Thornhill



I have previously shared with you on the fun of helping to carve pumpkins for Judy Chaffin for the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow. The Glow is located behind the Dayton Art Institute on the hill next to the Greek Orthodox Church in Dayton.

Many years ago Judy envisioned ghoulishly glowing pumpkin lighting. When she moved to the 39 Stoddard Avenue, her first thought was to put some carved pumpkins on the hill. She got the assistance of her brother and his wife and they bought 36 pumpkins and carved them.

The ideas seemed to grow on its own – the next year she increased it by 25; then it became 75 and then 100 and the count has just kept going up and up. At some point it jumped to 300, then 400, then 500 and has grown to over 825 pumpkins on display.

In the beginning, Judy would trek toward Springfield each night after work to a local pumpkin farm and would load up her Honda Civic with all that it would carry. After a few years, her brother helped her by loading up his van with the orange gourd-like squash. Eventually, she was referred to another Springfield area farmer who not only negotiated a fair price for the prestigious pumpkin but more importantly, he would deliver!

Neighbors and friends have joined in the mix offering their services from gutting and cleaning to carving, placing and lighting the finished pumpkins. She puts up tents with heaters for the overflow of carvers. Several Ladybug Garden Club members have joined in the carving and we have so much fun! When you go to Judy’s house she welcomes you with her great smile, you pick out a pattern to carve on the pumpkin (simple or difficult), gives you the tools, offers refreshments and you have a great time. All you need to do is show up.

Pumpkin carving is Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 28 and 29 from 10 a.m. to midnight. They welcome help from all ages and all skill levels are greatly appreciated.

She always needs help transporting across the street to the hill and lighting the pumpkins.

On Friday, the 30th, the pumpkins are placed on the hill starting at 10 a.m. and the lighting begins at 4:30 p.m. and stays lit well past midnight. On Saturday, the pumpkins are lit again starting at 4:30 p.m. The event is FREE.

The Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow can be seen on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 30 and 31. It is a display that is well worth seeing.

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By Charlene Thornhill

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