Pumpkin roll disposes of holiday waste the fun way

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 30, 2013

 A trio of children prepare to send their carved pumpkins down the hill at Huron Park during the Nov. 1, 2012, pumpkin roll event in Roseville.

A trio of children prepare to send their carved pumpkins down the hill at Huron Park during the Nov. 1, 2012, pumpkin roll event in Roseville.

Photo by Deb Jacques

ROSEVILLE — The Roseville Optimist Club and the Recreation Authority of Roseville & Eastpointe are planning the free “Rumblin’ Tumblin’ Pumpkin Rolldown” for the 11th straight year Nov. 1.

At 6 p.m. sharp, local children will roll their carved pumpkins down the sledding hill at Huron Park in Roseville. And pumpkins that don’t break by the end can be brought back to the top of the hill and rolled back down until they do finally smash.

Optimist Club member and Assistant Recreation Director Bobbie Wilson said she originally got the idea from Oxford Township, which did a pumpkin roll as a way to deal with carved pumpkins once the Halloween holiday had ended.

“No one after the Halloween holiday knows what to do with their pumpkin,” Wilson said. “A lot get smashed in the street or left for litter. So this way, if families want to bring their carved pumpkins — if they want to bring them down to the hill — they can roll them down multiple times until they break into pieces, and then you’ve got a garbage can at the end to throw them in when they break.”

“It’s like an Easter egg hunt, only people bring their own stuff to throw onto the ground,” she added.

From there, Wilson said the city’s Department of Public Works takes away the pumpkin pieces to dispose of them.

John Surhigh, another member of the Optimist Club, said the club will also be on hand to pass out cider and doughnuts, as well as prizes for participants.

“The club buys all the doughnuts and ciders, and we pass them out at the end after the kids roll pumpkins down and smash them,” he said. “And then we give out certificates of participation.”

Wilson said the event started with 60 people but has since grown to an average of 150-200 children and adults. The most she has seen at the event was about 250 people, she said.

Since the pumpkin roll is always done on Nov. 1, Wilson said the organizers tailor the start time to the day of the week. On weekdays, it is held at 6 p.m., using the park’s baseball field lights to brighten the grounds. When it falls on a weekend, she said they simply hold it at noon. Since this year’s is on a Friday, the lights should be in use.

She added that the free event is open to all children — no residency restrictions are in place — though the focus is on Eastpointe and Roseville kids, since those are the coverage zones for the recreation authority.

“It’s our way of helping the kids and (giving) the kids something to do,” Surhigh said. “That’s what we do as optimists. It doesn’t cost the city or the rec center anything — it’s all the Optimists Club.”

All pumpkins for the event must be carved, Wilson added. For more information, call the recreation authority at (586) 445-5480.