“Pumpkin Walk at Twilight” is Sunday at Fellows Riverside Gardens

By Jordyn Grzelewski



Stephanie McCune, 11, of Canfield, has been carving pumpkins at Fellows Riverside Gardens every autumn since she was a little girl.

This year is no exception.

Stephanie was at a pumpkin-carving session at the Gardens on Friday, preparing one of the gourds that will line the Gardens’ paths for Mill Creek MetroParks’ annual Pumpkin Walk at Twilight on Sunday.

The event runs from 5:30 to 8 p.m., and in addition to the pumpkin displays, will feature live polka music, pumpkin-carving demonstrations, children’s activities and free cider and apples.

Groups of people crowded the Gardens on Friday for pumpkin carving, which also takes place today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Stephanie was joined Friday by younger brothers Ray, 9, and Peyton, 5; grandmother Ruth McCune; baby-sitter Audra Smith of Youngstown; and Smith’s grandson, Connor Smith, 11.

The group was delighted to be out at the Gardens to continue the yearly tradition.

“I love this park, and I love to carve,” exclaimed Stephanie.

Next to her, Connor and Peyton happily carved their pumpkins to look like a character from the “Minecraft” video game.

Ray went with a sports theme for his pumpkin, carving the initials “LBJ” – LeBron James – into his.

“We all enjoy coming out to the park. We enjoy getting out and about,” said Audra Smith. “We like to continue it [the pumpkin-carving tradition] so that the memory will last a lifetime.”

The Sudetic/Yazbek clan is another that never misses out on the annual event.

“It’s our tradition. The boys just enjoy it,” said Darlene Sudetic of Youngstown, who was there with her grandsons, Jaxtin and JJ. Also taking part in the fun were the boys’ other grandparents, Ginny and Joe Yazbek; their mother, Mamie Yazbek; and cousin, Dominic Yazbek.

Also carving a pumpkin with his grandson was Mario Silvestri. He and 6-year-old Michael Silvestri were there for the first time this year.

“Grandma called us up and said there’s a pumpkin carving ... so we came,” said Silvestri.

It’s these kind of family experiences that the event, now in its 12th year, is meant to foster.

“It’s a fun way to do something as a family, and it doesn’t cost you a dime,” said Lynn Zocolo, horticulture educator at the Gardens.

The Pumpkin Walk began in 2004 with just over 300 carved pumpkins weighing in at 5,000 pounds. Now it features roughly 700 pumpkins, weighing approximately 20,000 pounds total.

“It’s grown to be something bigger and better, and it was really our goal to make sure it was always family-oriented,” Zocolo said.

The walk is a chance to enjoy the beauty of the pumpkin-lined paths of the Gardens, as well as for those who carved pumpkins to find their masterpiece.

The event is sponsored by Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens, as well as 21 WFMJ-TV and WBCB, The Valley’s CW. For more information, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org.