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Orange Firefighters Ignite Blaze of Jack-O-Lanterns With First Pumpkin Carving Contest

By DOUG FENICHEL, Correspondent | October 26, 2021 | CONNECTICUT

Story No. 102621102

Orange Pumpkin Blaze, Slated for Oct. 28, seeks Orange’s most BOO-ti-ful pumpkin

ORANGE, Conn. – For the second year, Orange volunteer firefighters are challenging town kids to put their imaginations to work and scare up the best-decorated pumpkin in the community.

“This is something safe and fun for kids to do around Halloween,” said Firefighter Rob Panapada, who created and chairs the event. “Jack-O-Lanterns are such a part of Halloween. This is a good way to show them off without having to walk all over Orange.”

Firefighters, in a poster, say they “are just dying to see your best effort” at creating Jack-O-Lanterns. They promise “spook-tacular” prizes for winners in three categories. Pumpkins are to be dropped off at the fire station at 625 Orange Center Road from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 25 and 26. They’ll be on display in front of the fire house from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Oct. 27 and 28 with final judging on Oct. 28.

Contestants can pick up their pumpkins on Oct. 29 and 30 so they can show them off on Halloween.

Contestants will compete in one of four categories: 5 years old to 8 years old, 9 to 12, 13 to 16 and older than 16, which the department has named professionals. In addition to the best, awards will be given for the most original, the happiest and the scariest in each category plus there will be a best in show.

In addition to carving pumpkins, contestants in the 5- to 8-year-old category can decorate their pumpkins with paint or markers instead of carving and using candles.

“Neighbors helping neighbors can mean a lot more than just going to fires,” said Chief Vaughan Dumas. “It can mean just helping our community have fun.”

There are no entry fees. More information about the contest is available by emailing

About the Orange Volunteer Fire Association

The Orange Volunteer Fire Association provides fire protection residents and businesses in Orange and, through mutual aid, surrounding towns. Members receive training in fire suppression, rescue, hazardous materials response, homeland security issues and other emergency services.

Operating strictly with revenues from fund-raisers and donations, the Orange Volunteer Fire Department is one of the remaining few all-volunteer incorporated fire departments in Connecticut. Active members are on-call to serve the community on a 24-hour/seven-day basis, responding from stations on Orange Center Road and Boston Post Road.
In addition, the fire company offers public education services including lectures, demonstrations and training. For information about membership, donations or public education, call (203) 891-4703, click on or find us on Facebook.

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.