What is the festival?
Historically, pumpkins have been a staple for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Families purchase their token pumpkins, and Dad is usually the chosen one to gut the pumpkin and carve the basic triangle eyes and toothless grin. Well, here in Hawai’i, things have changed since the Pumpkin Carving Festival arrived!
Founded in 2010, the Pumpkin Carving Festival is held during the week preceding Halloween on the island of O’ahu. Matson and Safeway are the founding sponsors of this annual event. “This is where families start a new tradition of carving pumpkins in a festive atmosphere with other families of the local community”, says Leighton Tseu, president of the festival. “Kids excitedly walk through the SAFEWAY Pumpkin Patch to pick their personal pumpkin, they share the day with other families carving pumpkins and take home the finished product to display in their homes.”
Each year, there is a Corporate Competition, held three days prior to the Family & Youth Day, in downtown Honolulu at Tamarind Park - Bishop Square. This outdoor evening event features high profile business leaders going toe-to-toe in the Executive CarveDown. While the executives are competing in their own arena, attendees also watch corporate teams in a two-hour duel of their own. Celebrity judges have the difficult task of choosing the winning entries. “The creativity and carving techniques displayed by these executives and corporate teams during this competition is magnificent”, says festival founder Billie Gabriel. “During the competition, the public also enjoys great entertainment, food, beer and wine.”
Windward Mall hosts the Family & Youth Day each year. Hundreds of families sit together and carve their pumpkins in the shopping mall. Local artists offer tips to families who want to take their pumpkin carving to the next level. A high school competition, KULA Carving Youth Challenge, is held during Family & Youth Day. High school teams are given a specific theme and two hours to carve five pumpkins.
Join us and be part of this exciting community event . . . start creating traditions and new memories with your family! The Pumpkin Carving Festival brings together the community to share the Hawaiian values of lokahi and ‘ohana... neighbor-to-neighbor, friend-to-friend.
And the true winners of the festival are the two valued organizations ~ Keiki O Ka Aina Family Learning Centers and Kanehunamoku Voyaging Academy. These two outstanding organizations provide critical service and programs for families and our community.