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Successful Operation

Hamilton, Ohio – A picture-perfect weekend for Operation Pumpkin led to a lot of perfect picture memories from the annual downtown event.

More than 1,100 guests – 626 on Saturday and another 518 on Sunday - stopped by the Fitton Center booth on Second Street. Hundreds of children made pumpkin- and fall-themed masks at the craft tables before taking their work into the adjacent InkEngines tent for digital photos of themselves superimposed over the OP logo and other kid-created images of the festival.

“It was fun and the kids and parents loved it,” said Carlos Jones of InkEngines.

While the kids were busy crafting and posing for the camera, grownups learned a little more about the many performances, classes, workshops, exhibitions, events and summer camps available at the Fitton Center.

More than a dozen teen volunteers from the Hamilton Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Committee - students come from Badin, Hamilton, New Miami and Ross high schools - joined Fitton Center board members and staffers to help greet the crowds and guide the little ones through their projects.

Connor Hartford, Maren Bultman, Mia Jackson, Eva Hall, Ava Sanders, Maggie Peter, Brayden Eldridge, Sophia Williams, Josie Halverson, Chloe Christen, Natalie Janssen, Cassidy Cox and Briella Combs of YPC donated more than 24 hours of coverage time in the booth over the course of the weekend.

“We are lucky to have a group like that in Hamilton,” said Caroline Digiovenale, Fitton Center Education & Community Experience Coordinator. “It’s especially nice to have them working with the kids. That meant we could keep up with supplies and talk to the parents.”

And there were a lot of people to talk to given the booth placement among many popular food vendors. The spot also stood just south of the viewing area for the stars of the festival - giant pumpkins.

“There were people lined up waiting for the food vendors and we were inviting people over to talk about the Fitton Center or to make a craft while they were in line,” Digiovenale said. “A lot of people knew who we were, but we made a lot of new friends, too.”

Operation Pumpkin set a record for its largest pumpkin to date, a 2,350-pound behemoth grown by Michael Morse. The gargantuan gourd – grown up north and shipped to Hamilton for the occasion - also set the Michigan state record for size.

In case you were curious, it takes three pounds of pumpkin to make one pie. If that one pie yields eight pieces, Morse’s monster would be the source for 6,267 slices, or a little more than 2 million calories. (But who’s counting? It’s a festival and everyone knows calories don’t count when you’re walking. Or sitting down to draw with your kids.)

Next up for the Fitton Center Outreach team? The annual Hamilton Tree Lighting scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19, at Marcum Park. Stay tuned for details on what the craft will be and how to get involved as a volunteer.

The Fitton Center for Creative Arts is located at 101 S. Monument Avenue on the Riverfront in downtown Hamilton, Ohio.

Building Community Excellence through the Arts and Culture

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