Laker inspires neighbors to carve 100 pumpkins

Contributed by Judy Fish, Lake Monticello News

It’s no surprise that Laker Brenda Alluisi was the brainchild behind the Bunker Pumpkin Path Friday night—where 100 pumpkins lined Bunker Track in what will surely become an annual event. The free event was open to both Lakers and their Fluvanna County neighbors.

“In my mind, I was hoping for 200 pumpkins, but 100 is a really great start,” Alluisi said the day after the event. She said she personally invited all her friends to carve pumpkins (ok, maybe nagged her friends, she admitted). Alluisi also taught two free pumpkin carving classes at the Ashlawn Clubhouse with about 15 in attendance each class night.

“I was surprised at the number of people who had never carved a pumpkin before,” she said. “I had one lady tell me she is 86 years old and was carving her very first pumpkin in the class.” Brenda said her youngest carver was about five years old, calling ages “8-12 the sweet spot.”

In addition to the two free carving classes, she helped the 9-Hole Ladies Golf Group carve pumpkins at the home of Jan Shattls, who hosted a “Pumpkin-Carving Potluck.”

Alluisi has created lots of fun at Lake Monticello since moving here some six years ago. She has organized golf ball and rock painting for children at two past Oktoberfests, occasionally teaches basket weaving in the Ashlawn Clubhouse, is a regular at Painters at the Lake, has made and sold homemade jellies and participated and helped organize the Dancing at the Lake lessons before COVID stopped them. She also entertained her Facebook followers with her series of posts on various breads she baked during COVID and even more recently.

It’s no surprise she helped bring the Pumpkin Extravaganza to Lake Monticello.

“My family from Kentucky told me about the Louisville Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular,” Alluisi said. “I thought maybe we could do a mini-event here.” The Louisville event, celebrating its 9th year, boasts 5,000 carved pumpkins illuminated at night as an art show that runs daily from dusk to 11p.m. for about a month, raising money for charity.

Alluisi approached the Young Residents & Families Committee with the idea. “I am glad they wanted to do it,” she said.

While she hopes the event becomes annual and grows even larger, Alluisi said she was touched by the participation.

“I was so moved by all my friends who delivered carved pumpkins,” she said. “There were people from my wine club, basket weaving, painters and my dancing friends. I felt so grateful that they answered my call for carved pumpkins.”
Alluisi delivered about 21 pumpkins from various people and LMOA Board Member Gary Sellick also had a carful of pumpkins, she said. The entire LMOA Board carved pumpkins for their board meeting the day before the event as a way to promote it.

She said she already has ideas to make the event bigger next year, if the Young Families & Residents Committee wants to organize it again. “I so appreciate everyone who worked the event,” Alluisi said. “I heard lots of positive comments from people last night. It was so cool watching the kids swarm the track to see the pumpkins glow in the dark.”

One of her favorite things about the event is that “carving the pumpkins and then walking the track provided great family quality bonding time.”


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