SYCAMORE – Local resident Daniel Bautista’s giant spider pumpkin won the acclaimed “Pick of the Patch” award from a record number of entries in the annual Pumpkin Festival contest.
The Sycamore Lions Club saw 1,146 entries in the 51st pumpkin display on the courthouse lawn in downtown Sycamore. Awards were issued Thursday morning in more than 30 categories, most delineated by age group, and the “Pick of the Patch” winner was chosen among the first-place winners in the other categories.
Ed Kuhn, who chaired the pumpkin contest with fellow Lions Club member, Tom Moline, figures the contest only topped 1,000 entries once before in its history. The club cut off entries Wednesday evening, and the its three vice presidents were out early Thursday judging.
They based their decisions on the creativity and ability within the age groups, Kuhn said.
“If it looks like their parents made it, they may not win,” Kuhn said. “... The prettiest one in the particular display may not win; it’s the creativity.”
The winners received a small cash prize and a coupon to a local restaurant.
“The Sycamore Lions Club thanks the children of all ages that help to make this the great family activity that it is,” Kuhn wrote in a news release. “Wally ‘Mr. Pumpkin’ Thurow is undoubtedly smiling down on us this weekend.”
Thurow, a Lions Club member who died in February, created the festival in 1962. He was honored Wednesday before the ceremonial cake cutting, and donations for a bronze statue of Thurow are being taken in small pumpkins at Sycamore schools. The life-size statue would sit at the northwest corner of Somonauk and Elm streets.
Pumpkin Festival today
• Pumpkin displays can be viewed on the lawn of the DeKalb County Courthouse on State Street.
• The DeKalb County Shrine Club will offer pork chop sandwiches from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
• A craft show will be hosted from noon to 5:30 p.m. by Sycamore United Methodist Church, 160 Johnson Ave. Food also will be available.
• Heartland Blood Center will hold a blood drive from 1:30 to 5 p.m. on South Maple Street.
• The teen carnival will be open from 5 to 11 p.m. at Sacramento and State streets.
• The kiddie carnival for young children will be held from 5 to 11 p.m. at the parking lot at Somonauk and Elm streets.
Pick of the Patch – Daniel Bautista
Presidents Award – Evans Family
School Participation: 1st – Southeast Elementary 2nd – North Grove Elementary 3rd – St. Mary’s of Sycamore
Youth Organization or Group - (17 & under) 1st – Early Childhood South Prairie 2nd –North Grove 3rd – Salem Lutheran Confirmation Program
Adult Organization or Group 1st – Hillcrest Covenant Church 2nd – Autism Awareness 3rd – Dorr Plumbing and Heating
Theme Category (Happiness is the …Perfect Pumpkin) 5 & Under 1st – Jack Boryc 2nd – Aden Schultz 3rd – Hayden Fant
6-7 Years 1st – Madyson Block 2nd – Rebecca Allen 3rd – Adyson Hull
8-9 Years 1st – Oliver Keicher 2nd – Jordyn Block 3rd – Charlotte Sharp
10-11 Years 1st – Jacob Nations 2nd – Travis Evans 3rd – Max Griffey
12-17 Years 1st – Miranda Blankenbehler 2nd – Anna Gosciejew 3rd – Roan Findley
Happy and Fancy 5 & Under 1st – Addison McLaughlin 2nd – Rachel Grehn 3rd – Aubrey Burke 6-7 Years 1st – Bella Caputo 2nd – Colleen Simpson 3rd – Hailey Loyd 8-9 Years 1st – Abi Payne 2nd – Molly Griffey 3rd – Jaden Peck 10-11 Years 1st – Charlotte Sylvia 2nd – Maddie Weaver 3rd – Tessa Harbecke 12-17 Years 1st – Jenna Lewey & Ellie Kerkove 2nd – Emily Dunbar 3rd – Morgan Olson
Weird, Ugly & Scary 5 & Under 1st – Peter Gehrig 2nd – Michael Olson 3rd – Alexis Rothembach 6-7 Years 1st – Lucas Windurn 2nd – Ryese Taylor 3rd – Trace Cook 8-9 Years 1st – Joseph Brestan 2nd – Jacob Hull 3rd – Hayden Beck 10-11 Years 1st – Abby Krull 2nd – Andrew Russo 3rd – Keegan Palm 12-17 Years 1st – Jeffrey Maness 2nd – Jason Maness 3rd – Grace Clark
TV, Nursery Rhyme 5 & Under 1st – Zach Ziegler 2nd – Maddux McLaughlin 3rd – Grace Hagemeyer 6-7 Years 1st – Sam Krull 2nd – Johnny Jarrett 3rd – Addison Peck 8-9 Years 1st – Genna Gower 2nd – Brody Armstrong 3rd – Irish McCoy 10-11 Years 1st – Griffin Gower 2nd – Madeline McCormick 3rd – Nolan Benson 12-17 Years 1st – Kortney Jones 2nd – McKenzie Palm 3rd – Mathew Madsen
Carved 7 & Under 1st – Danny Young 2nd – Terron Begay 3rd – Brady Horan 8-9 Years 1st – Jeremy Peterson 2nd – Andrea Foulk 3rd – Emmy Kuhn 10-11 Years 1st – Kate Heegaard 2nd – Ethan Gall 3rd – Noelan Garbes 12-17 Years 1st – Dana Nielsen 2nd – Reed Kousoulas 3rd – Tallon Grewe
Scarecrow 11 & Under 1st – Zayne Adams 2nd – John, Jack, Dylan & Kalob 3rd – Zak Geraci 12-17 Years 1st – Neriah Garbes 2nd – Grace Carlson 3rd – Health Occupations II, 2nd Session
Family Entry 1st – Laura, Briana, Emily, Evan, Ella 2nd – Dave & Roberta Aldis 3rd – Emma Winters
Adults (Carved, Scarecrow, General) 1st – Carol & Lynden Bute 2nd – Joel Peck 3rd – David & Chad Carrington