At the fork of the Ohio and Big Sandy rivers in Kenova, West Virginia, former mayor Ric Griffith and his small army of volunteers spend three weeks every year designing, scooping and carving 3,000 pumpkins. After the carving is done, the volunteers decorate the front of Griffith’s Beech Street house and yard with pumpkins of all shapes and sizes.
Each October, Griffith’s stately, Queen Anne style residence is transformed into a dazzling display of jack-o’-lanterns – each with a unique, carefully carved face or design. The pumpkins, which are delivered by a local farm in the first week of October, are the handiwork of hundreds of Kenova volunteers. The night after Halloween, the display is removed, and all trace of the 3,000 gourds is gone.
The tradition started with just four pumpkins and soon grew to 500. Over the next several years, the number of pumpkins doubled to 1,000 and again to 2,000. The pumpkin count has landed permanently on 3,000 – which coincidently (or not) is the number of residents in the town. Ric and his Griffith & Feil Pharmacy and Soda Fountain store donate the cost of the pumpkins for the display each year.
Kenova, the small town that hosts the famous “Pumpkin House,” is located in the western part of West Virginia, just south of Ohio and east of Kentucky. Griffith’s “Pumpkin House” sits on historic Beech Street, which looks over the scenic banks of the Ohio River. The house is easy to spot all October long, thanks to its bright, orange glow.
There is no charge to visit the “Pumpkin House,” which has drawn crowds for over 30 years. As part of the town’s C-K AutumnFest, visitors can stop by one of the many food trucks parked near Griffith’s residence for a bite to eat and a hot chocolate.