What do you get when you cross a crisp, Fall night, more than 400 elaborately carved pumpkins, and closed-off Toronto streets lined with table after table? Why, you get the second annual Great Harbord Street Pumpkin Festival, of course!
Held the day after Halloween, residents of Harbord Village brought their carved pumpkins, found an empty spot, and graced the tables with their gourds. At dusk, the pumpkins were lit, the street was closed and was aglow. Literally. A silent auction was held at the Art Gallery, local restaurants featured pumpkin-flavoured items on their menu, a bagpiper played, and at the conclusion of the night, the pumpkins were collected for composting. Even in the midst of a sea of orange, Torontonians still managed to stay green.
I walked down the street in awe. The night was clear and cool, and the plentifully fallen leaves filled the streets. The smell of hot chocolate and spiced cider filled the air. Parents strolled down the street holding hands; kids sprinted down the street screaming with excitement and practically burned off their fingertips from getting too much of an “up close and personal” pumpkin view. I didn’t blame them. There were pumpkins with Canadian themes, warts, wrapped like ninjas, with squash for noses, question marks, Inukshuk, a centipede-looking pumpkin made up of eight gourds, and, a somewhat humourous H1N1 pumpkin paired with a devil. I am quite sure that by “devil”, they meant “the media”. Ahem. DT Bistro had the most amazing pumpkins I’d ever seen — they looked as thought they’d somehow been flecked and there were literally hoardes of people gawking at them. Or maybe that was just me. Anyway. As I walked, I had flashbacks to the scene in “You’ve Got Mail” where Tom Hanks entertains his niece and nephew at what I thought was the Fall carnival of all Fall carnivals. There wasn’t exactly apple bobbing (thanks, H1N1!) or face painting at the Harbord Street Festival, but there was plenty of happiness, leaves, spooktacularness, and witty, amothereffinmazing pumpkins.
Check out the full set of serious pumpkin goodness here.