Pumpkin Parade fun tonight

The Courgettes will be entertaining the crowds
The Courgettes will be entertaining the crowds

The annual Spalding Pumpkin Festival takes place tonight – and final preparations are being made to make it the wildest ever.

The centre of town will be transformed into a colourful celebration of all things autumn this evening.

crescent logo ANL-140930-153440001

crescent logo ANL-140930-153440001

The festivities - which have been a popular diary date for over a decade - are organised by South Holland District Council, sponsored by Spalding firm David Bowman Pumpkins Ltd and supported by the Spalding and Welland Rotary Club and Spalding Lions.

Mr Bowman, who is Europe’s largest producer of pumpkins, donates thousands of the fruit to schools and pupils can carve and decorate them before taking their creepy creations along to the big day.

This year, the Crescent Traders’ Association is playing a big part in expanding on what the pumpkin festival has to offer.

Activities start in The Crescent at noon.

The Crescent Traders’ Association’s annual pumpkin competition is even more exciting this year.

Children have to find ten British wildlife woodland creatures hidden in shop windows in The Crescent, Vine Street and Francis Street.

You’ll find an entry form in this week’s Spalding Guardian, but they can also be collected from Adams Butchers, Daisies, Bookmark, Revills Shoes and Inkleys Menswear.

First prize is a Crescent Traders’ Association gift vouche for the sum of £30 to be used in any shop in the Crescent, Vine Street or Francis Street; second prize is a £25 gift voucher; and third prize is a £15 gift voucher.

All completed competition forms must be returned to the Pumpkin Patch, which is situated in between Austin John and Wrights, or George Adams Butchers.

Continuing with the wildlife theme, the Lincolnshire Bat Group will be in The Crescent with some of their bats, alongside the Owl Conservation Society with owls and Ruskington Wildlife with hedgehogs.

Parents can capture the excitement by popping along to the Pumpkin Patch between Austin John Interiors and Wrights Carpets in The Crescent to take a picture of their children on a special backdrop – and even have the photograph taken by professional photographer Julian Wheeler, of Welland Photography, if they wish.

Spalding Ramblers and The Wildlife Trust will be handing out information about nature reserves – and craft workshops will be run by Unique Cottage Studios at 24 The Crescent.

Families are invited to gather at the front of the stage at 5.30pm for the fancy dress competition, where one lucky winner will lead the enchanting lantern parade at 6.30pm in the magical pumpkin coach.

The festival will also feature a variety of daytime entertainment from 11am, including a charity market, street entertainment, activities and competitions.

Music lovers should look out for The Courgettes as they perform a menu of ska, jazz, swing and rock ‘n’ roll.

There are also craft workshops by Makendo to produce a piece of pumpkin-themed artwork that you can wear, carry or wave in the parade.

In the evening, there will be live entertainment, including Vibe Youth Choir, Bourne Borderers and Radius 45. With pumpkins taking centre stage, there will also be recipes and cooking demonstrations to pick up cooking tips for soups, hotpots and cakes. The climax of the night is a spectacular fireworks display from the top of the South Holland Centre at 7.30pm.

Coun Howard Johnson, portfolio holder for community, said: “We hope to see as many people there as possible.” For more information on road closures, visit www.sholland.gov.uk