COCHRANE— Embracing the spirit of Halloween, Anything Grows Cochrane has teamed up with the Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival to host a virtual pumpkin walk and provide spooky carvings to Bethany Cochrane.
“We’re super excited,” said Anything Grows head of marketing Andrea Heembrock. “The idea is to get people either as a family or as an individual carving a pumpkin and then sharing a photo of it on Facebook.”
Heembrock said it was important to find a way to bring the community together and the partnership has proven to be a great opportunity to celebrate Halloween in Cochrane.
“We have been family-owned and operated for over 20 years and this community is super important to us,” Heembrock said. “We live here, we work here, we run a business here, we play here, we have neighbours here. Just in light of all the changes that have been made to a lot of community events this year and the way that we’re celebrating holidays we wanted to just set forth an opportunity, or create an opportunity for the community to get engaged in a fun holiday like Halloween.”
Anything Grows partnered with the Cochrane Pumpkin Lantern Festival after it was announced the traditional pumpkin walk at Cochrane Ranche would not be taking place due to the challenges presented by COVID-19.
Instead, the duo will be hosting a virtual pumpkin carving contest that includes fun prizes in the categories of kids under 12, most creative pumpkin, most technical pumpkin and best overall pumpkin.
One of her favourite parts of the Pumpkin Lantern Festival has always been seeing the unique and creative ways people carve their masterpiece.
“It's really neat to see people’s creativity come out. People can carve interesting scenes, or make a likeness of a character or use props in a really interesting way," Heembrock said. She added she is excited to see what people post online this year.
To enter the contest share the photo on Facebook and tag Anything Grows @cochranegardencentre and tag The Pumpkin Lantern Festival @chspumpkinfest with the #cochranepumpkins2020.
Anything Grows and the Pumpkin Lantern Festival will select the winners of all categories aside from best overall.
The best overall pumpkin will be narrowed down to ten entries who will be posted on the Anything Grows Garden Centre Page on Wednesday (Oct. 29). The pumpkin with the most votes will be announced on Saturday (Oct. 31).
As part of the contest, people are encouraged to drop off their pumpkins at Bethany Cochrane for residents to enjoy.
Heembrock’s family has a special connection to Bethany as her grandmother calls the centre home.
“We know a number of people in our lives, friends and families, that have connections with Bethany Care— They’re a really an important part of our community,” Heembrock said.
They learned Bethany Cochrane was hosting a pumpkin walk for residents and asking people to drop off carved pumpkins on Oct. 28 and 29 at the front doors.
“We thought that was such a cool idea,” Heembrock said, explaining how they are encouraging people to drop off their pumpkin after posting a photo online. “It can be used for the enjoyment of residents.”
Joining in on the hocus pocus Bow Valley High will be sharing pumpkins with Bethany Cochrane, said leadership teacher Sheldon Betts.
Betts and his fellow leadership teacher Kathleen McLeod planned the pumpkin carving contest for the school.
“We like to bring a lot of spirit to the school, a lot of spirit and connection to the community,” Betts said. “We didn’t want to give up this year.”
Bow Valley High School carved about 60 pumpkins on Friday (Oct. 23)— All of which will be dropped off at Bethany Cochrane.
“It’s a neat way to feel connected to the community and knows that people care about them and have forgotten and want to bring joy to their life,” Betts said.
The community spirit behind the initiative was made all the more powerful, Betts said, because Cochranites rallied around the idea and donated the cost of the pumpkins to the school.
“There’s a lot of value in connecting the different generations there,” Betts said. “It’s a reminder that we are not isolated, not as isolated as we feel. It can be easy with COVID and all the restrictions in place to feel … Isolated— This is a reminder that we all do care for each other and we’re more connected than we sometimes think in the midst of all this.”