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KENOVA — Pumpkin carving is underway in Kenova as the Pumpkin House prepares for this year’s display leading up to the C-K AutumnFest on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 29-30.

Located at 748 Beech St. in Kenova, the Pumpkin House welcomes volunteers to help scoop and carve pumpkins when they are available because even donating a small amount of time can be helpful, said Pumpkin House owner Ric Griffith.

“In a half hour, if they scoop four or five pumpkins, that’s four or five off of that list of 3,000,” Griffith said. “And the sooner we get it done, the sooner we get the volunteers and get it done, the more days we get to view it in completion and enjoy it.”

Individuals can volunteer from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the C-K AutumnFest, but Griffith said there will be nights he is working later and he will not ask anyone to leave until around 2 a.m.

The first volunteer at the Pumpkin House this year happened to be Jana Wiersema, a visitor from Columbus, Indiana.

Wiersema is visiting Huntington because of her interest in “The Adventure Zone,” a biweekly podcast from Justin, Travis, Griffin and Clint McElroy, during which they discuss games and create adventures for fictional characters.

“I’m visiting Huntington and I was looking at fun things to do in the area, so that’s how I found out about the Kenova Pumpkin House,” she said. “I’m not going to be here at the same time that it’s going to be displayed, but I found out that people can help volunteer and it seemed like a fun way to get involved.”

Wiersema said she had not heard of a display like the Pumpkin House before her visit, and even though she cannot see the finished setup this year, she thinks it would be exciting to visit again.

Purl “Foxy” Heaberlin has been helping with the Pumpkin House display since 1999, before there was even a festival to go along with it.

Heaberlin said he has seen the display grow and change over the years, and he enjoys seeing people volunteer and how they react to the finished house.

“My favorite thing I guess is I just like watching people’s reactions. We have a lot of fun working around, and it’s something with a goal to work toward, so I enjoy that,” he said. “And it’s kids of all ages, you know, from little, little kids to people in their 90s.”

Visitors can expect to see cartoons, cats and the lyrics to John Denver’s “Country Roads” carved into the pumpkins this year, along with other designs.

Griffith said he is hopeful that community members come to help, and he is excited to see how the display turns out.

“I’m excited to have it over, but in that regard, by over I don’t necessarily mean the cleanup,” he said. “I mean just the completion to have a night to celebrate being back in the community and bringing people into our area, and that’s the excitement.”

The Pumpkin House display was scaled back last year due to the pandemic. Instead of displaying the 3,000 pumpkins at his house, Griffith ordered 1,000 pumpkins, drew designs on most of them and asked people in the community to carve them and display them prominently so they could be viewed while people drove through the community.

The full-scale display will be back for this year’s C-K AutumnFest, an annual event that takes place the last weekend of October in the communities of Ceredo and Kenova, West Virginia. Although the main attraction is the Pumpkin House, the event also features an arts and crafts show, old-fashioned bake-off, cruise-in, tractor show and food vendors.

The festival’s parade will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 26, through both communities.

For more information or a complete event schedule, visit www.ckautumnfest.com.

Sarah Ingram is a reporter for HD Media, covering Wayne County. Follow her on Twitter @IngramWCn.

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