Celebrating the pumpkin

MANSON – When painting a pumpkin, there’s a right way and a wrong way.

For Jaiden Ackerson, 14, of Paton, decorating one at the annual PumpkinFest at Twin Lakes Bible Camp, the process begins with a good base coat.

In her case – a solid jet black.

This is followed by the other colors.

“It’s going to be red and green,” she said. “Kind of a Christmas/Halloween pumpkin.”

That red and green wasn’t going to be either scary, funny or even a face.

“I’m going with a design,” she said.

Her brother, Ethan Ackerson, 8, was working on one a few feet away.

He began with green along the top in a pattern that looked like leaves, then became blobs of color when he changed his mind.

“It’s going to be green and something else,” he said.

What that something else might be, the theme of the work, was waiting for inspiration.

“I don’t know yet,” he said.

Painting pumpkins was just one of about a dozen activities guests could try.

Scott Larsen, executive director of Twin Lakes Bible Camp, said that a bounce house and wiggle cars were added this year. In addition, they’ve also put in a set of slingshots that fire corn.

Another favorite, the apple slingshot, is back this year with the proper ammunition.

“There are plenty of apples this year,” he said.

In 2012 a shortage of apples forced him to purchase potatoes, which were in good supply.

Alexa Bach, 10, of Gowrie, was giving it a try, several cardboard targets were set up for her to aim at.

She said she had a preference for another activity – the zip line.

She likes the way the ride ends.

“When you get to the end,” she said, “there’s a block that stops you so you get a soft landing.”

Devin Parker, 6, of Jefferson, was also enjoying the zip line.

He had made several trips already and was planning on “lots and lots” more.

The staff of the camp gets in on some of the fun too.

Joe Hendrickson, program director, and Jon Back, who works in maintenance, were operating the large, air-powered, pumpkin-chucking cannon.

It will fire gourds and towel-wrapped shoes, and it’s very much a case of boys will be boys.

“I like to blow stuff up and shoot things,” Hendrickson said.

Back likes to get visitors involved. He said they help with the countdown but that the actual valve turning, which fires the gun, is done by him.

“You have to be quick,” he said.

There is also a trick to turning the valve to get the treat of the gun firing – not going too far.

“You want to save some of the air in the reservoir,” he said. “That way it recharges quicker.”

Scott Larsen said there is one more weekend of PumpkinFest. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. In addition, the site will open on Oct. 31 at 6:30 p.m. with a showing of the movie “How to Train your Dragon,” on the side of the historic round barn at dark.

Admission is $5 per person over the age of 2.

Twin Lakes Bible Camp is located at 7718 Twin Lakes Road, on the west side of Twin Lakes near Manson.