The top of the hill at the south end of Mill Pond Park was lined with jack-o-lanterns carved with many creative faces and patterns as well as uncarved pumpkins. Behind the pumpkins were enthusiastic children and their parents waiting to roll their creations down the hill.
“It’s kind of a nice ceremony, right?” said Sunshine Lambert, Recreation Supervisor at the Saline Recreation Center. “All of your hard work on these and this is our ceremonial goodbye recognizing the end of the Halloween season.”
The twelfth annual Pumpkin Roll was, as always, sponsored by Waste Management. They bought the treats from Benny’s Bakery and paid other expenses. Meijer donated prizes.
Although it was a full week after Halloween, there were still plenty of pumpkins available for rolling. Approximately eighty people showed up for the event, perhaps encouraged by nicer weather than usual.
Pumpkin rollers and spectators alike were invited to enjoy donuts, sweet rolls and pretzels from Benny’s and hot or cold cider from Meijer.
Lambert stood on the hill below the participants and explained the rules of pumpkin rolling. You can push or kick your pumpkin, but you are not allowed to pick it up and throw it.
The first pumpkin, with or without its driver, to cross the finish line is the winner. If the pumpkin falls apart, which is quite common, one only needs to get a part of the pumpkin across the line.
Rollers compete only against others in their age group. Intact pumpkins generally roll faster than jack-o-lanterns and they are less prone to disintegrate, so these were raced separately.
Most of the pumpkin rollers ran with determination. At least one tumbled headlong over her pumpkin and another kicked off a shoe while propelling a pumpkin.
After the races, everyone was invited to try their hand at launching pumpkins with a slingshot device. The object was to send a small pumpkin or a piece of a larger one as far as the woods and a few people succeeded.
The event was over in less than an hour. In that time the pumpkins were collected for their final ride to the compost center, most of the treats were consumed and many families had a good time.