Chefs, Surgeons Compete in Pumpkin Carving Benefit Contest

By FRED PACE, The Herald Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) — Local chefs and surgeons put their carving skills to the test for the Huntington Children’s Museum Pumpkin Carving Contest at The Market’s outdoor patio in downtown Huntington.

Jessica McCormick, of Huntington, brought her two children, 10-year-old Iris and 4-year-old Oscar, to the event on Tuesday, which also featured the Marshall Nutrition Program, a dance floor with a fog machine, and other contests and events for kids.

“They loved this event last year, and they love checking out the carved pumpkins, too,” said McCormick, who is the vice president of the museum’s board of directors. “We have been waiting for a children’s museum in Huntington since Iris was a baby. I hope everyone will get involved and donate to such a great cause.”

Drew Hetzer, of Backyard Pizza and Raw Bar and The Peddler, was one of the local dining legends competing in the contest that also included Jonathan Patterson of Le Bistro and Jordan Hagy of La Famiglia.

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“I haven’t done a lot of pumpkin carving since I was a kid, but I love creating things in the kitchen so I thought I could implement that into my pumpkin carving strategy and just have fun with it,” Hetzer said. “I’m sticking with a pizza theme, but with a Halloween twist on it.”

Participating surgeons included doctors Ashleigh Clickett, Courtney Crain, Michael Gentile, Farzad Amiri and Ben Moosavi.

“I will attempt carving a breastfeeding mother with a baby,” said Clickett, an obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Valley Health. “Cutting a pumpkin is a lot different than human skin, so it will be much different. I just want to have fun with it and help a great cause at the same time.”

After the pumpkins are finished, pictures will be posted on the Huntington Children’s Museum Facebook page and votes for the best pumpkin can be made with donations to Huntington Children’s Museum online at

“Each dollar equals one vote,” said Holly Smith Mount, a volunteer with the museum. “We are hoping to surpass our goal of $10,000 that we reached with last year’s contest.”

The winner will be crowned on Halloween night, Monday, Oct. 31, Mount said.

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