As Halloween draws near Cochranites may be hounding local supermarkets to find that perfect pumpkin to carve and maybe even enter into The Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival on Oct. 25.
Back for year number three the Pumpkin Lantern Festival has been a pump-tastic event that all ages can appreciate and enjoy with family.
Held at the Historical Cochrane Ranche and generously supported by Cochrane's extraction plant, Inter Pipeline, the festival is a jack-o-lantern filled evening sure to get that Halloween spirit flowing.
"We love it because it connects people and their families or their school groups or their community groups or their business and it contributes to that bigger social community fabric that we all come to enjoy," said Catherine Burdett committee co-lead for the Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival.
Burdett says the event is great for community building and community spirit. It is all volunteer-run and is spearheaded out of Cochrane High school. She added that the principal of Cochrane High reaches out to other school principals to encourage their students to have their own pumpkin carving contest. What tends to follow suit is that the winners from all the school contests enter their "hollow inside" works of art in the Pumpkin Lantern Festival.
"We are so fortunate because a local company Inter Pipeline is a corporate sponsor and they have flowed us the money to be able to really build this event so we're really grateful because without their support we wouldn't enjoy the kind of success that we do," said Burdett.
Last year's event drew around 3,000 people in attendance and 300 pumpkins entered into the contest. Over the last couple weeks carving packages with all the fine print have been dropped off to business's, community groups and schools around Cochrane. Burdett believes this is a great way for a local business to get noticed within the community adding it's innovative and allows for team building.
The event is free to all ghosts and ghouls. There will be door prizes, cash prizes in several categories, food trucks and spectacular carving demonstrations by a talented local, Brian Widahl.
"We actually have two of the Cochrane High School bands playing, so they set themselves up and play music throughout the event. Notre-Dame which is our French school in town takes care of all of the s'mores, we have a few fire pits that are throughout the property and I think last year they did 1,000 s'mores. We will have hot chocolate and we also have three local food trucks that will be participating," explains Burdett.
Carved pumpkins are placed along the pathway at the Cochrane Ranche which has since adopted the name "Light up the Ranche Pathway." Judging gets underway on Friday, Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. but the event starts at 6 p.m. The categories you can enter in are: 12 and under, 13-17, 18 and over and business or group. Your pumpkin display can also have more than one pumpkin in it. You can keep your pumpkin after the event is over by waiting until closing at 9 p.m. to pick it up.
Any pumpkins that are not picked up, and that are not painted or have any extra stuff on them, go to Butterfield Acres. Burdett says that farmer Ruth has told her "Have you ever seen a cow do a back flip, this is their favourite time of year when pumpkins come in because it's a very special treat for them."
Remember to mark your calendars for Oct. 25 as The Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival will have magic in the night when the pumpkins glow by moonlight.