:: The 33rd Gourd Festival this weekend will include gourd carving, a gourd/squash bake off, gourd costume contest and prize for largest gourd (last year’s winner, with a 4lb, 3oz gourd received $25 TGI Friday’s gift card).
:: The first incarnation of the Gourd Festival was held in 1943. Pumpkins were in short supply due to the war effort (Pumpkin seed oil being vital for making incendiary explosives), so the annual Pumpkin Days Octoberfestival was changed to Gourd Days.
:: The Gourd Festival was revived in 1974 during the Great Pumpkin Blight. Over 4,500 people showed up (as opposed to 1973’s anemic Pumpkin Palace Carve-Off, which featured only three contestants). The festival has been celebrated ever since.
:: In 1996, the festival was boycotted by local Indian tribes and the ACLU, who objected to the “Chief Gourd Head” character, who is represented with peace pipe, headdress and frighteningly oversized papier-mâché gourd head. This did nothing to deter visitors- in fact, 1996 was the most popular year to date. The Chief remains a popular attraction, well known for his gourd war cries and “red-man gourd chop.”
:: Tons of copper stolen from air-conditioning units, construction sites, and electrical conduits annually: 12 (also, beer kegs– ed.)
:: Value of 12 tons of copper: $88,080
:: Crystal meth-buying power of 12 tons of copper: 1,111 grams (est. current market conditions)
:: Number of residents in the Bentham Hills neighborhood complaining of “vivid, disturbing technicolor dreams” following the installation of a new Doppler weather radar station, according to a NewsCenter 7 report this week: 23
:: Fading colored stickers found on some houses and rowhomes date back to the mid-20th century, part of the Fire Department’s plan to help firefighters more easily identify the number of children and pets in a home. Blue circles were for kids, green squares for dogs and orange triangles for cats. The department started the program in the late 30s and stopped handing the stickers out in the mid-60s.
– Cedric Rose, Matt Vermeulen, RJ White