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The Great Carving

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By Tom Wilmoth

The smell of pumpkins permeated the halls of Bedford Primary School Saturday.

Inside the cafeteria, some 400 pumpkins were being carved, each representing a unique design of students and staff at the school. This Thursday and Friday those pumpkins will be placed around the drive in front of the school with lit candles inside and the school's PTA will hold a bake sale as a fundraiser.

The project has been a community effort, according to Joy Wayne, the school's art teacher who organized the event. “I have wanted to do this for a long time,” Wayne said, adding that she had participated in similar efforts while working at a school in Vermont. “It's simple, yet it's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.”

Area businesses and individuals have helped make this happen. Lowe's, Wal-Mart in Bedford and Food Lion off Perrowville Road donated pumpkins — some 400 in all — and money for the effort. Other area businesses also helped. “Each child gets their own pumpkin,” Wayne said. Staff also participated.

The students at Bedford Primary used time in art class last week to make the designs for their pumpkin and then parents, staff, community volunteers and others gathered Saturday to help carve out the designs. Among those showing up Saturday were students from Virginia Episcopal School in Lynchburg, who were completing a community service project. And Wayne said she's had “phenomenal support” from the staff at the school.

The pumpkins will be set out on Thursday and Friday, Halloween night, from 5-8 p.m. Proceeds from the bake sale both nights will benefit the PTA.

“Once it's done, it's amazing to see,” Wayne said of the pumpkins lined up and lit along the road.