Grafton Hill holds first Pumpkin Glow since passing of its founder

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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The 25th Annual Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow is underway in the Grafton Hill neighborhood.

The event attracts crowds of visitors every year with a thousand carved pumpkins on display.

Now a Dayton tradition, it would not be possible without the help of hundreds of volunteers like Kelly Bush.

“It’s been a ton of fun,” Bush said.

This was Bush’s third year carving for the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow. She jumped in to help soon after moving into the neighborhood.

“I had never used legitimate tools to actually carve pumpkins before. It was always just stuff that I had my kitchen,” Bush said.

“It takes every bit of 200 volunteers four days to get this done,” said Eric Dye, Grafton Hill Neighborhood Vice President.

Volunteers are a crucial part of the operation. 

“It’s been a city-wide volunteer event for the past three years now. We’ve increased our number of pumpkins from 500 to 1,000 over the past four or five years,” Dye said.

The Grafton Hill Neighborhood Association has their process down to a science. 

One group of volunteers cuts the bottoms of the pumpkins at an angle so they don’t roll down the hill. They are then taken inside a tent where they are gutted. That’s where carvers start their part of the job.

“Some of the patterns take up to seven hours to carve. We got a really intricate Spiderman, some scenes from movies and some people go freehand,” said John Edinger, Grafton Hill Neighborhood President.

This is the first Pumpkin Glow since the passing of Judy Chaffin. She started the event by carving about 30 pumpkins for her grandchildren to enjoy. Every year she carved more and every year more people came to see them. 

“What she created with the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow, it really can’t be replicated.  She had a lot of attention to detail. She really wanted to make it special,” Edinger said.

The neighborhood hopes to carry on that legacy.  

“And continue that special feeling people get when they come to the Stoddard Avenue Pumpkin Glow,” Edinger said.

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