Houston Pumpkin Festival a treat

October 13, 2012
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
A student with Synergy School of Artistic Dance of Canonsburg dances down the street during Houston’s Pumpkin Festival Parade Saturday. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe Observer-Reporter
Jocelyn Ackman, 2, enjoys a sucker she gleaned from the Pumpkin Festival in Houston Saturday. Ackman,who dressed up as Raggedy Ann, is the daughter of Wendy and Josh Ackman of Washington. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Kayden Werner, 3, son of Trisha Holliday and Keith Werner of Canonsburg, gets the final touches on his arm airbrush art by artist Harry Colbert Jr. of Skip and Co. The Pumpkin Festival in Houston offers crafts, children’s activitiies and food. Order a Print

HOUSTON – It was no trick for Gauge Cheeks to haul in a bunch of treats Saturday morning.Standing on West Pike Street in Houston with his mom, Becky Cheeks, the 2-year-old from Hickory quickly filled a bag with sugary confections that were raining down from cars and floats in the Houston Pumpkin Festival’s parade.“I got candy!” he noted with no small amount of excitement.The parade was the centerpiece of the annual event, now in its 29th year. A fundraiser for Houston Volunteer Fire Company, the revenue generated by the festival accounts for about 60 percent of the fire department’s annual budget, according to Buzz Meddings, the president of Houston Volunteer Fire Company and co-chairman of the festival.Saturday morning’s parade followed a costume contest for children up to age 12, and preceded a pumpkin pie-eating contest and a performance by Adam Brock, the “American Idol” semi-finalist from Washington County.Today, an open-air church service is planned for 9:45 a.m., and a seed-spitting contest is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Craft and food booths, pony and carriage rides, pumpkin decorating and a petting zoo are among the ongoing activities at the festival.The hourlong parade featured staples like classic cars and fire trucks and a succession of local political figures, including Washington County Commissioners Larry Maggi and Harlan Shober, Canonsburg’s Mayor David Rhome, state Sen. Tim Solobay, D-Canonsburg, state Rep. Jesse White, D-Cecil, and various officials from Chartiers Township and Houston Borough.October in Pennsylvania is known for its mercurial weather, but with sunshine and high temperatures in the 60s, festival organizers could have hardly asked Mother Nature for more ideal conditions. With the thermometer forecast to creep 10 degrees higher Sunday, the lucky streak should continue.“We’ll take it,” Meddings said.

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. Brad holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from George State University in Atlanta, Ga., and a master’s in popular culture studies from Bowling Green (Ohio) State University. He has covered the arts and entertainment for the O-R, and also worked as a municipal beat reporter. He now serves as editorial page editor.

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