The Great Pumpkin of Manistee

Crowd turns out to see giant pumpkin carving Friday at Miller’s Produce

MANISTEE — Janet Golden, of East Lake, and her family carve pumpkins into traditional jack-o’-lantern every fall season, but nothing like the carvings of Frankfort man Ed Moody.

“He’s making it three-dimensional, and it takes a skill (to do that). It’s amazing,” said Golden, who brought her granddaughter to see the carving of a large pumpkin Friday at Miller’s Produce, at located at 65 Cypress St. in Manistee.

Moody, who carved a pumpkin weighing over 500 pounds into a face, has carved many pumpkins for displays across the state and country.

“You never know (what you’ll carve) until you’re in it,” Moody said before he started carving. “I used to plan them out and never was able to complete one they way it was planned because there are thin spots, thick spots, there’s sometimes color you have to deal with, there’s sometimes rotten spots in there you can’t see from the outside.”

Having started pumpkin carving at the age of six, he began to carve large pumpkins 18 years ago.

“My first giant (pumpkin) was a 590 pounder and I built a (Cinderella) carriage,” Moody said. “It took me 31-and-a-half hours to do the pumpkin.”

Kitchen knives are the primary tools he uses for his carvings.

“Most of my work is done with a bird’s beak paring knife with a hook on the end; that’s probably 90 percent of what I do,” Moody said. “Then I have a fillet knife and a short slicing knife.”

He also occasionally uses a linoleum carving tool as well.

“I’ve tried everything; I’ve tried power tools, I’ve tried chainsaws and all they do is make a big mess,” he said. “The thing is, you get a good, clean cut with a knife and you get nice detail.”

At his home, he creates a carving of a different cartoon character. In the past, he has done carvings of Spongebob Squarepants, Super Mario, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Bugs Bunny.

He said he also carved a pumpkin Friday at Bear Lake Schools as well.

Phil Miller, co-owner of Miller’s Produce with his wife Lynn, had Moody carve a pumpkin three years ago.

“I thought it would be a great attraction to bring this here and show the public what’s here because of the highway,” Miller said.

He said the pumpkin is a huge attraction for people in Manistee and beyond.

“The number of people that have come, I can’t believe it,” Miller said. “I’ve had (people) come from as far as California and, believe it or not, Florida. They’re coming up here to visit Michigan. It’s a compliment to us as a state, I think.”

Many parents brought their children to see the pumpkin carving, and Miller’s Produce provided cider and doughnuts to those in attendance.

The pumpkin will be on display at Miller’s Produce for about one week, according to Miller.


Posted by Sean Bradley

Sean is the city and cops and courts reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the entertainment and Reasons to Celebrate pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3109 or

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