Part of what gives Healdsburg its small-town charm and familial feel is its age-old traditions such as the annual pumpkin carving contest, costume contest and pumpkin race, where participants gather in the crisp fall air to launch gourds bedecked with wheels down a handmade track.
Corazón Healdsburg’s Día de los Muertos celebration is also a beloved tradition among many and gives residents a chance to honor loved ones with intricate altars and features traditional activities and events that pay homage to Mexican heritage.
However, due to COVID-19, both events are going virtual this year in an effort to maintain safety.
The Healdsburg Farmers Market 36th annual Pumpkin Festival and costume contest will take place, Saturday, Oct. 31, on the Healdsburg Farmers Market website. The deadline to enter for each contest is Oct. 26.
All competitions will be divided into three categories: ages 7 and under, ages 8 to 15, and 16 to adult.
Pumpkin decorating with wheels
Because the pumpkins will not be raced this year entries in this category can be any size. Folks are encouraged to get creative and to decorate the pumpkins on wheels, which can be made out of any material, including vegetables. The pumpkin should be able to move on its wheels.
Be sure to take and send photos of the decorating process, the wheels and the finished product.
Last year’s pumpkin and squash race cars featured a fire truck themed pumpkin complete with a firefighter in the front seat, and other designs utilized vegetables, fruit, paint and even glitter.
Those who want to carve a pumpkin can carve any size pumpkin, however, if you are going to use a stencil you must make note of that in your entry. Photos should capture the carving process, the finished product and the stencil of your choice if you use one.
Some of the top carvings last year included a Peanut’s themed pumpkin and a tribune to Healdsburg. Other carvers took the more traditional approach and crafted various pumpkin faces.
This year costume contestants will be tasked with making a homemade costume that includes a mask that covers the mouth and nose. Costumes should be uniquely handmade — no commercial costume kits. Various components of pre-made costumes may be used to complement the costume but shouldn’t be the main outfit.
How to enter
Email photos of all entries to email@example.com. The email should include:
● Name of entrant
● Age of entrant
● Which competition is being entered
● Contact phone number and email address.
The deadline to enter each contest is Oct. 26. Voting will begin Oct. 27 and end Oct. 29. Anyone can vote via a SurveyMonkey link that will be posted on the farmers market website on Oct. 27.
Winners will be contacted on Oct. 29 and can bring their winning entry to the market on Saturday, Oct. 31 to receive their prize. Prizes include gift certificates from Valette’s, Shelton’s Natural Foods, Amy’s Wicked Slush, Spokefolk, Gustafson Wine, Toy Chest, Copperfield’s Books and market bucks.
Entrants will receive two market bucks just for entering.
For all of the contest information, visit: http://www.healdsburgfarmersmarket.org/pumpkin-festival-2020/.
Día de los Muertos
While Corazón’s popular Día de los Muertos event usually draws in many people celebrating their ancestors and Mexican heritage through in-person events, folks will be celebrating the occasion online this time.
Angie Sanchez, head of programs at Corazón, said they are working on a virtual celebration and a micro website with a virtual experience, soundtrack, music, animation and videos.
“As you scroll down it’s kind of like an altar and at each altar is a different video about Día de los Muertos,” Sanchez said.
The special website will have several different sections, including a history section that will detail the history of the celebration and how it is celebrated in different regions of Mexico.
Another section will contain a series of videos that will feature interviews with locals and interviews with four different community members discussing the story of lost loved ones and why they celebrate them.
There will also be a set of “how to” videos that will offer tutorials on face painting and how to make sugar skulls and traditional food and drinks. The bottom section of the website will feature a virtual altar where people can upload a photo, a poem, or anything that honors loved ones who have died.