Volunteers are planning the 2018 Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, which will take place the week before and during Columbus Day weekend, September 29 to October 8. One of the main features of the 10-day festival is the display of pumpkins in downtown Damariscotta, Newcastle and beyond that are painted and sculpted by area volunteer artists and seen by the thousands of visitors who attend the annual event. 

The Pumpkinfest Artist Committee is currently seeking artists to transform this season’s crop of giant pumpkins into works of art. Damariscotta Pumpkinfest plans to apply for a public-art foundation grant from the Maine Arts Commission in 2018, and the committee is seeking accomplished artists who could help achieve that goal. The MAC Project Grant is largely awarded on the basis of “artistic strength and creative practice,” which includes “the artist’s background, education, awards and honors.” 

All participating Pumpkinfest artists are recognized for their artwork on a plaque at the base of their pumpkin, on the website’s “Pumpkin Trail,” which includes each pumpkin’s location/size/sponsor/artist, as well as being featured on the Pumpkinfest website and Facebook page. For more information, interested artists are asked to email a short summary of their artistic background and contact details to artists@damariscottapumpkinfest.com.

Atlantic Giant pumpkins will be delivered to downtown Damariscotta on Thursday evening, October 4, and will be available for painting and carving immediately thereafter (and on Friday, October 5). In addition, five giant hay bales (i.e., white-plastic-wrapped baleage) must be painted from September 21 to 28, as they require two orange base coats to dry before their designs are painted. Go to www.damariscottapumpkinfest.com and click on “Pumpkin Art” for tips and techniques for painting either pumpkins or hay bales.