Like it or not, summer is winding down. Pumpkin spice everything will be showing up on the shelves at your local grocery store and Halloween decorations will crowd the aisles of your big-box store.

But the looming change in seasons also brings a chance to show off your artistic chops using an unusual base — giant pumpkins.

Volunteers are in the midst of planning this year’s Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta, scheduled Sept. 29-Oct. 8, and they’re looking for artists to design unique pumpkin sculptures to decorate downtown Damariscotta, Newcastle and beyond. The work will be done in front of curious festival attendees.

The volunteer-crafted pumpkin sculptures are among the biggest draws for the 10-day festival, and “delight the thousands of visitors who attend the annual event,” according to organizers. Some are painted, others carved and sculpted, still others serve as a base for other artistic displays.

“Indeed, more and more visitors have come specifically to watch the artists in action — guessing what the pumpkin will become and discovering a new art form while chatting with the artists and becoming familiar with them and their work beyond the giant pumpkins,” according to a news release.


“Pumpkin Artists at Work” has grown into a highlight of Pumpkinfest itself as photographers — amateur and professional alike — capture the transformation of the garden gourds into art.

Atlantic Giant pumpkins will be delivered downtown the evening of Thursday, Oct. 4, and will be available for painting and carving that evening and the next day.

The Pumpkinfest Artist Committee is seeking artists to transform this season’s crop of giant pumpkins into fun works of art. The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest plans to apply for a public art foundation grant from The Maine Arts Commission in 2018, and the committee needs accomplished artists who could help achieve that goal. The MAC project grant is largely awarded on the basis of “artistic strength and creative practice,” which the commission describes as “including the artist’s background, education, awards and honors.”



All artists will be recognized for their work on a plaque at the base of their pumpkin, on the festival website’s printable “Pumpkin Trail” which includes each pumpkin’s location, size, sponsor and artist. They’ll also be featured on the Pumpkinfest website and Facebook page. In addition, large prints of a dozen 2018 pumpkins will be displayed at the Central Lincoln County YMCA in Damariscotta next September.

Festival organizers also need artists to paint five giant hay bales wrapped in white plastic before the first pumpkin weigh-off. Those five bales must be painted the week of Sept. 21, as they require their two orange base coats to dry before their designs are painted.

For more information on how to become an pumpkin or hay bale artist, email a short summary of your artistic background, such as a portfolio website address, as well as your contact information to [email protected] For tips and tricks on how to paint pumpkins or hay bales, visit damariscottapumpkinfest.com and click “Pumpkin Art.”

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta is a nonprofit organization that promotes education to citizens of all ages regarding the agricultural science required to grow giant pumpkins. For more information, visit www.damariscottapumpkinfest.com or search for the festival on Facebook.

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