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Pumpkins aplenty -- Thousands gather for fest

SYCAMORE -- Cold, dreary weather couldn't dampen the spirits of Sycamore Pumpkin Festival goers Friday, as people of all ages from across northern Illinois gathered to experience a plethora of pumpkins. Whether festival-goers wanted to explore the Lions Club Pumpkin Display or browse St. Mary's of Sycamore's two craft fairs, the 41st annual festival offered a little something for everyone. "This is just fantastic with all of these pumpkins," Gayle Feliksik, of Willow Springs, Ill., said of the Pumpkin Display in the DeKalb County Courthouse lawn. "I just can't get over the cleverness and work that went into these (pumpkins)." The display presented a vast assortment of themes, ranging from scary ghouls, to former presidents, American flags, traditional jack-o-lanterns, cartoon characters and even silhouettes of the Statue of Liberty. Many attending the event considered the pumpkin display as the culmination of the festival, including Sycamore resident Sid Johnson. "This is definitely something to see," said Johnson, a member of the Lions Club for more than 30 years, he said. "A lot of people come out here to see these pumpkins. I've seen a lot of great displays over the years, and this one really stacks up." St. Mary's craft fairs, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today in the new parish center at Waterman and Park streets and in the Sycamore Armory, 516 E. State St., showcased an array of seasonal items as a festival staple. "I've been to many craft fairs, and the quality and variety here is very nice," said Betty Kosinski of Woodridge said. "The atmosphere here really comes out with all the displays and the craft shows. I came from the Chicago suburbs, and it's been a lot of fun so far." Today, the festival will feature a Rotary pancake breakfast from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Federated Church at 612 W. State St., a Cornerstone Christian Academy pig roast luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 355 N. Cross St., and the Lions Club Giant Pumpkin Weigh-In begins at 10 a.m. at the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse. "There are so many things to see, do and eat at the festival this weekend, it's difficult to know where to start," Feliksik said. For festival information, or for parking and street closure information, call (815) 895-5161.

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