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December 08, 2016
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Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater

The 2014 Jeff Bank calendar photo contest winners joined CAS Executive Director Bradley Diuguid, front row center, at the Catskill Art Society reception to chat about their work

Before diving into the pumpkin patch, I whistled for the wonder dog and we made a stop in Livingston Manor ( for a reception honoring the winners of the fifth annual Jeff Bank photo calendar contest. With the photographers on hand, it was cool to see their works, hear about where and when they were shot and get a sneak peak at the 2014 calendar, which is now available (, with proceeds going to Catskill Art Society. The theme, “Four Seasons of Nature and Landscapes in Sullivan County,” is well represented by a slew of talented residents, and although there were no pumpkins to be found, Eldred, NY’s George Haas managed to capture October’s autumnal image beautifully. Each of the other months is equally well depicted, but I was on a mission to locate Peter and the little woman, so we bid adieu to the Manor and headed for Grahamsville, NY and the 28th annual Giant Pumpkin Party held at the fairgrounds. Having never been before, I was keen on checking it out. The children’s parade and contests are legendary, and the event is a yearly tradition for hundreds who came out in droves to support the library ( and have a blast doing so. Carnival games, a haunted house and horse-drawn rides are only the tip of the iceberg at this annual celebration, and Dharma and I spent several hours, admiring all of the costumed revelers participating in a wide variety of contests, including pumpkin decorating, pumpkin growing, and a country bake-off featuring (wait for it…) pumpkins. The kids were decked out in amazing outfits, and the adults were having just as much fun competing for prizes in the (duh) Giant Pumpkin Contest, with cash awards on the line. As usual, a slew of dedicated volunteers is responsible for making this event possible and for facilitating such out-of-control fun. I spoke with folks who have been attending for decades including Eileen Dooley and her daughter Ella who were dressed as a pirate and Tinkerbell respectively, and Eileen told me that although she now lives in California, she “makes the trip every year to share a little bit of her childhood” with the next generation.