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Local artist carves impermanent masterpiece

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By Paige Winegar

Student Writer

If you ask him, you’ll get, “I carved a pumpkin.” True, that pumpkin weighed almost a ton, and it took over 10 and a half hours to complete, but Zach Winegar has never been one to brag.

In 2011, Zach’s friend and neighbor, Tyler Quigley, approached him about carving a 994-pound pumpkin that Quigley had grown. It was on display at Mountain  Green Elementary, so Winegar decided to carve it at night. He’d never carved before, so he chose to do so when the school was empty saying, “If it got goofed up, we could just turn it around and nobody would know!”

Despite his inexperience, Winegar successfully carved an eagle (the school’s mascot) into the gargantuan gourd. This was the first of six giant pumpkins je has now carved, each more spectacular than the last.

Winegar’s most recent creation is a carving in a massive pumpkin weighing in at roughly 1,974 pounds, just shy of a ton. Grown by local gourd guru Matt McConkie, this pumpkin currently holds the state record for weight. Its large stem curves out from the front, which for most would pose a problem, as it can interfere with the carve. However, Winegar saw it as an opportunity to stretch his creativity and make something incredible.

In preparation for each carve, Winegar say he first goes to “meet the pumpkin.” Almost laughing, he admits to asking each pumpkin what it wants to be, as he takes pictures for future reference. He later uses those pictures as templates, and sketches his ideas over them to determine what will work. He went through about 12 different designs before choosing a ghoulish monster face, complete with massive fangs. He said, “I chose this one because I had to work with the stem, which juts out on the front of the pumpkin. It felt like a good idea to integrate it into the face as a nose.”

The official carve took place on Oct. 26, at Station Park in Farmington, Utah. Winegar started work at 10:30 a.m., and some of his staff from America First Credit Union arrived later to help. They used corn stalks, burlap, and wire hangers to create massive arms and legs for the pumpkin; a first for one of Winegar’s giant’s. He worked long after the sun went down, laboring for over 10 hours, and completing the carve at 9 p.m.

He says one of his favorite parts of working with pumpkins is that it’s completely “Impermanent. It’s there now, but eventually it will rot away. The work you do is temporary, which makes it that much more exciting!”

Winegar’s carve was generously sponsored by America First Credit Union. You can watch time-lapse video on any of their social media platforms.

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