Our final days in Maine are a celebration of the season: bittersweet, rose hips, and a small pumpkin amidst the candles.
Never enough pumpkins.
Early one morning, as we drove into Damariscotta, the traffic was backed up from lower Main St. to the church on the corner of the Bristol Road. We grumped about it. What? A traffic jam in October? Then we realized that the forklifts were moving the giant pumpkins into their places along Main St. Perched every few feet on a raised platform, the pumpkins would hold court over our small town until after Halloween.
That evening artists converged on Main St. and began painting and carving into the 400 to 600 pound beauties. It was cause for a big community walk-by and enjoyment. By the Saturday of Pumpkin Fest, thousands of visitors surged into town to photograph the giants both night and day.
Artist Debra Arter carves honeycombs into this giant. See Winnie the Pooh going in for the gold? Debra also entered the pumpkin dessert contest and won 2nd place. She baked the smooth and snappy pumpkin cheesecake. It made my tastebuds sing.
A wise old owl outside of Sproul's furniture store beside the bridge.
Some pumpkins became lovely canvases.
This pumpkin reminded me of a moon cameo. This is outside Fernald's Country Store.
The children loved this one.
Outside King Eider's Pub (right next to Comfort Found)
I didn't quite understand this one, but the kids loved it.
Yep, it's a pumpkin in fish clothing.
Paco's Taco's built this saguarro pumpkin-cactus.
The "stringle-crested harposaurus" was done by Fred Gosbee of Castle Bay fame.
A tapestry of fish outside The River Grill.
A chef's dream pumpkin.
Outside Darling & DeLisle's gallery (below Comfort Found) sat this immense forest scene with birds. You can't see the small holes pierced through the skin, but at night it is lit from within and the tiny openings look like twinkling stars.
On the steps of our beloved Skidompha Library.
The Pumpkin Dessert Contest
I was asked to be a judge of the Pumpkin Fest dessert contest, which is held on the Saturday of the parade. I sat on the bench with two true judges of the courts, who have discriminating palates and a good sense of humor-unless you've broken the law.
We had 14 delectable entries in the contest and awarded 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes, each with a monetary prize and a trophy.
This fantastic pumpkin-maple cake stole the show.
Judge Atwood asked that I be removed from the bench because I was trying "to influence the judging." Not true, the consistency of the dessert just got to me.
We're taking things VERY seriously.
The winning trio.
The judging was tough, but presentation, taste, and originality all played into the final decisions.
Darn it, I'd love to give you the recipes, but after examining them we were required to turn them back into the committee. Evidently some of the recipes are secret. and the creators did not want to share them. Sorry.
The Pumpkin Parade
Saturday's parade was HUGE. We positioned ourselves on the bridge between Damariscotta and Newcastle and caught the parade at its beginning. We laughed so much during this and reveled in the small town pleasure.
The puffin pumpkin boat is prepared for the regatta on Sunday morning.
Two more regatta entries.
The pumpkin contest spawned some monsters.
This was the winner of the contest and was grown by Ed Pierpont. This broke the Maine state record and weighed in at 1,471 pounds. Later in the day Ed cut it in half, distributed seeds to next year's growers, and turned the half pumpkin into a boat for the regatta. I believe Ed won $10,000.00 for this behemoth.
Looks like nothing but bubbles and water?? Yep, it did look like this and it was the scene of the underwater pumpkin carving contest. Hundreds packed the shore to watch this...hundreds got bored and left. We stuck it out and saw the victors emerge from the depths.
Part of living in a small town is getting to know all the people and their pets. This is Raymond and he belongs to my friend Mary. Every afternoon Raymond and Mary walk to Waltz Rexall Drugs on Main St. (which still has its original 1940s soda fountain) and Mary tells Raymond to chatter his teeth-he is doing that in the photo. Then Raymond is presented a dog cookie from behind the counter.
Our canoe is inside, our hammock is rolled up for the season, our rugs are stowed, the pumpkins have all been taken to my friend Marilyn's house, and the shutters now cover the windows. I can't believe we won't step back inside our dear cottage until next May, but if the fates allow, we'll be back then and until then we'll dream of our beloved seaside haven.