Friday’s cold rain did not deter the spirits of the Lincoln Academy artists decorating this year’s giant pumpkin in front of the school’s Poe Theater. The group of ten students, teachers, and alumni collaborated to create the giant “Eagle on a Nest” pumpkin as the wind whistled around them and the rain made outdoor painting impossible.
“We didn’t use any cardboard this year,” said LA visual art teacher Jonathan Mess, as he stuck pieces of the wooden eagle silhouette into the giant pumpkin, which sits like a 500 pound eagle egg on a nest of brush. “Last year we learned that even painted cardboard doesn’t hold up that well in the rain.”
Art teachers Nina Sylvia and Kirsten Campbell worked alongside Mess, as did LA students and recent alumni Maggie Weiss ‘16, Julie Spinney ‘16, Samantha Burke ‘16, Jaynee Godard ‘16, Jerri Zahn ‘16, Tu Nguyen ‘17, and Micky McAtee ‘14.
“We thought about using a tent, like some of the other artists downtown,” said student artist Maggie Weiss. “But I don’t think the tent we had would have been big enough to cover this eagle’s nest, or strong enough to stand up to this wind, so we are just going for it!”
In addition to decorating a giant pumpkin, the Lincoln Academy community was involved in many other aspects of Pumpkinfest Weekend. For the second year in a row, over 30 residential students helped staff the “KidsZone” on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. In the ZidZone, student volunteers did face painting and helped with various pumpkin-themed games. Lincoln Academy was also represented at the InfoZone tables for nonprofits, greeting members of the public and answering questions about Lincoln Academy.
Representatives from Lincoln Academy marched in the Pumpkinfest Parade, including the InterAct Club, who works with the Damariscotta-Newcastle Rotary club doing volunteer work, as well as several students who were part of the Clark Farms float.
As always, Lincoln Academy offered free parking to the public all weekend, and Lincoln Academy busses were used as part of the fleet of Shuttle buses that ran between between the LA parking lot and various Pumpkinfest activities.
Two Lincoln Academy seniors sang the National Anthem before the Pumpkin Regatta this year. Natalie Whitney and Addison Vermillion stood on a boat in the Damariscotta River and sang for the enormous crowd before the pumpkin boat races began. Addison described the experience this way:
“We were not on a floating pumpkin (although that would have been cool), we were on top of a huge boat, along with several other people, one of whom was holding an American flag. It was a really neat experience, especially because we were singing on top of a boat, and being able to see all of the people that gathered to watch the races from so high up was incredible. There was also a lot of press around, and getting to hear a live broadcast for 92 Moose was really cool. Having the opportunity to sing at events like these is incredible, and I feel blessed to be a part of something that is so special to so many people.”
Lincoln’s 82 residential students, who hail from 16 countries and the United States, were involved in many aspects of the weekend’s activities. In addition to volunteering in the ZidZone, they got to watch the parade and other pumpkin-related festivities, and try new foods, like Harvest Moon’s famous pumpkin pizza.
Hindley Wang, a junior from China, said, “We don’t have anything like this in China, at least not in the part I come from…This Pumpkinfest is definitely unique and crazy, and despite that I don’t really get the point of it, I enjoy it. I like the atmosphere that it creates, I mean, who wouldn’t want a fun festival even if it’s just for the sake of pumpkins? Definitely a great way to gather people and to have fun altogether. Maybe it’s just a celebration for this beautiful season and its main product – pumpkins.”