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Pumpkins part of inspiration for Holiday Kickoff in Billings

Garden Avenue Greenhouse pumpkins.PNG
Posted at 12:02 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 02:19:39-04

The Garden Avenue Greenhouse hosted its Holiday Kickoff on Saturday and Sunday.

It was a little more challenging finding pumpkins this year.

"We have the pumpkin patch," said Shelli Gayvert, who owns the greenhouse with her husband. "I didn't actually grow these like I typically do. We're a little shorter than we typically are, but we still have a fairly good supply."

Shelli Gayvert.jpg
KTVQ photo

Gayvert said deer ate the pumpkin plants, but she found some replacements in Great Falls.

"Well you're seeing them in places, but you're not seeing as many fields of them, as many pumpkin patches," Gayvert said.

Higher prices, labor shortages and pumpkin blight have been reported across the country, as well as a good enough harvest for the canned pumpkin industry.

And the Gayverts found enough pumpkins for their Holiday Kickoff.

"This is the end of our season but kicks off other people's seasons," Gayvert said. "The pumpkins actually were the catapult for this event."

The kickoff features many crafts, and an artist, who normally works with stone, sculpting pumpkins.

Jeff Schaezle works more than three hours on a pumpkin.

Jeff Schaezle.jpg
KTVQ photo

"I've been carving stone for 33 years so carving a pumpkin is like carving butter so to speak," Schaezle said. "There's really not a lot you can do wrong with a pumpkin."

An old tablespoon, a paint scraper, an Exacto knife, a melon baller, scrubbies and brass tubing are among his tools.

Pumpkin sculpture.jpg

He said anyone can sculpt pumpkins with tools they may already have.

"We're all artists," said Schaezle. "We truly are, so everybody can do this and I recommend it."

If he can't find pumpkins, he can use something else.

"Apples, sugar beets, butternut squash, carved acorn squash, Hubbard's all that," he said.

And for the Gayverts, they still have pumpkins.

"Well they can find them here and we'll have them for the next week," Gayvert said.

About 60 vendors came out for the event.