Pumpkins vie for greatness in Leominster carving contest

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Thursday, October 31, 2013


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LEOMINSTER — Seniors living at the Sunrise Senior Living complex were treated to an afternoon of beautifully carved pumpkins, an update on what's what in Leominster by Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella, and a hot cider and baked goodies spread two days before Halloween.

The pumpkin-carving contest is a friendly competition between rehab centers in the local area. Sholan Farms donated the 50 pumpkins.

There were entries for "Scariest," "Most Creative" and "Funniest" that were judged by the mayor, City Councilor James Lanciani, the Rev. Mark Craig of St. Mark's, Joanne DiNardo of Sholan Farms, Rollstone Bank CEO and President Martin Connors and Heidi Getele of HealthAlliance Hospitals.

Sophie, the official greeter dog, welcomed everyone in her own Halloween costume.

"Rev. Craig comes here once a month and gives our residents an ecumenical service. Mr. Lanciani always makes it to the Men's Club pizza lunch. We're so glad they could all come today," said Lorrie Brodeur, activity coordinator at Sunrise.

Ruth Mayor, 92, a Sunrise resident said that she and her husband, Harry, moved to Fitchburg in 1944 from Colorado when a job at GE was offered to them.

They lived in a neighborhood in Fitchburg that attracted people from all over during Halloween.

"We never had trick-or-treating back home in Colorado. I guess it was just too small of a town. But here, people came in cars with their kids," said Mrs. Mayor.

This year, her great-granddaughter, Ruthie, is 7½ years old and will be wearing a fairy queen costume.

"She gets dressed up every year and goes around trick or treating with her grandpa in Northborough," said Mrs. Mayor.

Heidi Whitehair of Tyngsboro said that the competition between rehab centers was a lot of fun to do. This year, her group, Excela Life Care of Leominster, tied for first place with Life Care of Nashoba Valley in the "Most Creative" category.

"Oh dear, now we have to start thinking of what to do next year," said Ms. Whitehair when it was announced that their pumpkin had won.

The Excela pumpkin was decorated with three witches. Nashoba Valley's was a silvery gilded pumpkin coach for Cinderella with gourd for wheels.

Other pumpkins in the creative category included a hamburger pumpkin with pumpkin seeds glued to the top in place of sesame seeds, a pumpkin man that had a tinker toy walker and a feathery spider pumpkin.

The goriest among the Scariest entries was a zombie pumpkin with innards hanging out of its pumpkin stomach and created by Life Care of Leominster.

Ramsey Rehab of Leominster won in the Funniest category.

Ellie Craig, 5, and her brother Joey Craig, 8 accompanied Rev. Craig to help him with his judging duties. Ellie thought that the Cinderella pumpkin coach was the best of the lot.

Sunrise Senior Living will host a Holiday Craft Fair to benefit the Alzheimer's Association on from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 16 at the complex, 6 Beth Ave.

"We will have handmade crafts, a food court, bake sale and raffle baskets," said Ms. Brodeur. Items will include beaded bracelets and no-sew fleece blankets made by the residents of Sunrise, plus mittens, hats and scarves in every color, Victorian ornaments, pins, Patriots, Red Sox and Celtic fleece scarves and much more.

"Come to our Holiday Craft Fair and help us raise money for the Alzheimer's Association. With your help and support we will exceed our 2014 fundraising goal of $7,000. We can't do it alone! Please join us for a fun event and a very worthy cause," said Ms. Brodeur.

For more information,, call (978) 537-7600 or email Leominster.AVC@sunriseseniorliving.com">Leominster.AVC@sunriseseniorliving.com.

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