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Fourth annual Pumpkin Walk set for Oct. 18 in Kentville's Miners Marsh

<p>Cheryl Benteau of Berwick brought her 20-month-old daughter Scarlett to the Pumpkin Walk in Kentville.</p>
<p>Cheryl Benteau of Berwick brought her 20-month-old daughter Scarlett to the Pumpkin Walk in Kentville.</p>

KENTVILLE, NS - Miner's Marsh in Kentville will be the place to be Oct. 18 for the annual Kentville Pumpkin Walk.

According to Nicole Robinson of the Faculty of Tourism at the NSCC Kingstec campus, this is the fourth year for the popular event, which is planned and organized by her Tourism Management students.
“We were looking for a community event to host,” to maybe go along with Kentville's annual Harvest Festival, Robinson said.
Robinson had lived at one time on Vancouver Island, and thought an idea from the west coast of Canada would be a good fit for this area.
“In Cathedral Grove, they lined up pumpkins on the sides of the road for about a mile, all carved and lit up. We thought that was something that might work here.”
The NSCC faculty talked about it as a group and the idea of holding it in Miner's March came up.
The Tourism Management program includes a community partnership component.
“We needed a project to use our live tourism planning,” she said.
The Pumpkin Walk sees the students partner with the Town of Kentville.
“It made sense, in that the town already has the Harvest Festival and the Pumpkin People. Our event has been a great addition to the annual seasonal celebration,” she said.

Pumpkins everywhere
Pumpkins are carved and decorated, lit up and placed around the Miner's Marsh trails. The event was a hit from the start, and has grown to the point where last year, the third year, 5,000 people attended.
“The business community has gotten involved in carving pumpkins, we give out 1,000 glow bracelets to the kids, K-Rock has their cruiser with music playing. It's a real festive atmosphere,” she said.
Admission to the marsh is by freewill donation or items for the local food bank.
“We wanted it to be open to all. A lot of food gets donated, both here at the college and at Open Arms.”
Leading up to the walk, the students carve pumpkins for three days straight, usually 20-30 pumpkins apiece, while participating businesses carve as many as eight as well.
“Realistically (the success of the event) comes down to (everyone's) carving abilities,” she said.
 “They really get into it. They have to come up with different templates to carve, and they have a lot of fun doing it. We try wherever possible to have every pumpkin carved a little differently.”
The students are also there on the night of the walk. This year, there will be 30 of them, wearing bright orange NSCC toques.

Benefit to all
So far, she said, it’s been a great partnership that the students are really benefitting from.
“They get a real sense of accomplishment when the event finally happens. Any time a student can have a real-life project to do, it's a lot more meaningful,” she said.
After 9 p.m., the pumpkins are free for whoever wants them.
“There are seldom any left over,” she added.
Stirlings Farm Market provides the pumpkins and “is a very big supporter, and has been every year.”
And the community enjoys the event immensely, she said.
“People start lining up at 6 for the 6:30 start. We tend to have more youngsters early, and suggest older participants might show up a little later,” she said. “We appreciate people's patience, as there are long lineups.”
For some participants, she adds, “it will be their first time on the marsh.”
The event consists of a walk around the full trail on the marsh. Participants are asked bring flashlights, as it is dark by the end, and for safety reasons, dogs or other animals are not allowed.
“Lots of people end up going around several times, to catch the pumpkins they might have missed the first time,” she said.
Asked if she sees the event continuing to grow, Robinson acknowledged, “we thought about extending it to two nights, but the pumpkins, once they're carved, don't last all that long.”

If you go: The Pumpkin Walk is set for Oct. 18, from 6:30-9 p.m., with a rain date of Oct. 19.

Go online: For more information on the event, visit Kentville Pumpkin Walk on Facebook.

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