Pumpkin carving contest

Put your carving talents to the test and contribute to the Alive After 5 pumpkin-carving contest. FILE

Life after 5 p.m. in Bryan will bring with it the spirit of Halloween on Thursday.

Now going strong as a monthly staple downtown, Bryan’s Alive After 5, devised by Kora Brew House & Wine Bar owner Theresa Maynard, will soon set the courthouse square aglow with dozens upon dozens of jack-o’-lanterns carved by community members and businesses as part of a pumpkin-carving contest.

“At dusk or sunset, all of them will be lit, all around,” said Maynard. “It’s something that’s never been done in Bryan and we hope to do it annually.”

This month, Alive After 5 will also invite all attendees to come dressed in their Halloween costumes. It figures to conjure up sentiments about Bryan’s square resembling a postcard, a refrain commonly heard at Christmastime when the lights are strung up.

“The merchants will be in costume, so dress up. It will be a fun night,” said Maynard.

The carving contest will be divided into adult and youth (age 12 and under) categories, and will offer cash prizes, while a scavenger hunt of local businesses will offer its own unique set of rewards, from zoo and Sauder Village tickets to a timeshare vacation and more.

Signup is not required prior to the contests.

Pumpkins must be carved ahead of time and can be painted or decorated to the carver’s tastes. Pumpkins can be no bigger than 2x2x2 feet and must be real. Prizes will be awarded for funniest and scariest, judging also on creativity and originality. Pumpkins can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Bryan Area Chamber of Commerce office, 138 S. Lynn St.

“Bring your pumpkin down to the chamber,” said Maynard. “We’ll tag it with a number.”

The pumpkin carving contest will be judged by city council members and local non-participating business leaders.

That’s all in addition to the usual slate of deals, discounts, goodies and freebies regular attendees have come to expect from Alive After 5.

When coupled with live music at Kora, each event has developed a feel all its own as the courthouse square sees an atypical level of foot traffic and buzz.

“People are going in and out of stores they normally wouldn’t go into just to see what’s downtown, so it’s really exciting for the business owners” said Maynard. “And people in the community talk about how much fun it’s been.”

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