With a little creativity and a lot of pumpkins, one man has turned his small West Virginia town into an international tourist destination.
PHOTOGRAPH VIA K-C AUTUMNFEST
WRITTEN BY SOUTHERN GUIDE TO LIFE
Kenova, WV – Where the Big Sandy River flows into the Ohio, three states converge on a single point of land. The states of Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia meet at the tip of the tiny border town of Kenova, West Virginia and forms Virginia Point Park. You’ll find a few picnic tables, a place to park a camper, and view of two mighty rivers on either side.
For much of the year, tourists are limited to train enthusiasts, drawn by the many railroad lines and rail yards that dissect the city. But as the air gets crisp and the leaves begin to change, an army of volunteers begin preparations for a yearly event that has made this quiet community world famous.
On the last weekend of October, the quaint communities of Kenova and Ceredo, swell from a little more than 3,000 to more than 30,000, as the towns host their annual C-K AutumnFest. The two day, family-friendly event keeps the spirit of its small town roots. The smell of freshly made pumpkin bread and fruit pies fill the air as the old-fashioned bake-off completions get underway. Grab a snack from the food vendors and do some holiday shopping at the handmade arts and crafts show.
The festival was created around its famous centerpiece, a century old Victorian at 748 Beech Street. The Kenova Pumpkin House was been the creation – or obsession – of owner Ric Griffith for the past thirty-five years. Starting with five pumpkins in 1978, his masterpiece has grown into a yearly collection of more than 3,000 carved pumpkins. They line the porch, perch precariously along the eaves, cover the roof, and much of the yard. When Griffith ran out of room to spread out, he built up, creating pyramids, scaffolding and wooden shelves on which to place the glowing jack-o-lanterns. You’ll even find Noah’s Ark, filled with a menageries of carved animals.
Every pumpkin is individually carved by hand and no two are alike. The seeds and pulp are donated to a local Habitat for Humanity and the local food bank, where it is transformed into pumpkin breads and goodies. The baked goods are then sold to visitors to help raise money for charities.
Dates: October 25-26, 2013
Kenova’s Famous Griffith Pumpkin House:
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