Pumpkin carving art reaches new level at Descanso Gardens

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Pumpkin carving for Halloween is nothing new, but a team of artists at Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge is taking the craft to another level.

The new "Carved" event features over 1,000 jack-o'-lanterns, including several weighing over 100 pounds, intricately carved with popular themes like movie monsters, Dia de los Muertos and even some Disney favorites.

"There are hundreds and hundreds of talented pumpkin carvers all throughout the United States," said Gregory Gilger, an artist who has carved pumpkins professionally for over five years. "The art itself has become incredibly popular with the public."

Hard at work next to fellow artists, Zach Fajardo said, "It's a very healthy, friendly competition. But it's always cool to see that, oh, that guy is doing this. I need to step up my game."

"This took me seven hours to carve, and that's not even, it took me a whole day to illustrate this pumpkin," said artist Kristen Griffin. "The deeper you carve into it, that's gonna be your highlight. Everything just shows up so much more once you light it up."

At night, Descanso Gardens will be all aglow with a 1-mile walk featuring the beautifully-crafted works of art.

"This is the first year we're doing Carved, but a number of years ago, we had done a pumpkin event," said Juliann Rooke, executive director of Descanso Gardens.

"It was very popular. And we stopped doing that. We get hundreds and hundreds of calls from visitors, and guests and members saying 'When are you bringing the pumpkins back?' So we're carving as we speak right now and we'll be continuing to carve throughout the event."

Hollywood-based artist Arthur Romeo said, "This is just another facet of Halloween that people are still discovering. When people come in here they're like 'What?!'"

"As an artist, we try to make our work last, effectively forever. With pumpkins, there's no doing that," said Fajardo.

"It's actually an amazing part of it. It's nice to be able to draw something and just have it go away," said Griffin. "You don't see it, then you kinda missed out."

Descanso Gardens' "Carved" event runs from Oct. 23 through Oct. 27. Find more details at: https://www.descansogardens.org/programs-events/carved/.
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