Renowned glassblower Jack Pine’s popular event returns.
What started as a way for families and individual arts fans to get out of the house and experience beauty is back again by popular demand in 2022. Launching Friday, September 23 and running through Sunday, September 25, the Third Annual Glass Pumpkin Festival is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Parking is limited and festival-goers are encouraged car pool and reserve their spot for $5 at GlassPumpkinFestival.com, with each reservation receiving a $5 coupon towards their Jack Pine pumpkin purchase.
A highlight is the unveiling of Jack Pine’s annual Pumpkin of the Year, with the festival marking the first opportunity for fans of the legendary glass blower to snag the highly collectible, limited-edition glass pumpkin. The Glass Pumpkin Festival was launched by Jack Pine in 2020 during COVID to offer families a safe and beautiful escape centered around a stunning outdoor arts experience set in the magnificence of Ohio’s most visited location for fall foliage.
Attendees will again be amazed by thousands of spectacular hand-blown glass pumpkins — in a rainbow of colors and finishes — that will fill the five-acre grounds of Jack Pine Studio in Laurelville. Each pumpkin features Pine’s signature strong saturation of colors and unique finishing technique, which result in stunning lustrous works of art.
An outdoor artist’s market will feature fine artists from around the region, showing and selling their work. Pumpkin ice cream, donuts and rolls will complete the sensory experience, along with food trucks serving an array of offerings. The festival is an unmatched opportunity to find gorgeous fall décor and the perfect handcrafted holiday gifts for even the most difficult-to-buy-for recipient.
Jack Pine’s talented team of glassblowing artists will be at work throughout the festival, allowing attendees to watch firsthand as they blow, turn and stretch pure molten glass into exquisite works of art. World-famous pumpkin carver Gus Smithister will be live-carving a monstrous 600-pound pumpkin into an eyepopping real pumpkin sculpture, with plenty of more manageably sized pumpkins available for purchase. Kids activities will keep budding junior artists entertained while inspiring their creative side.
Beautiful Hocking Hills
Jack Pine Studio, a hand-blown glass studio and gallery located in the heart of beautiful Hocking Hills and is open to the public daily throughout the year. Pine, who has been blowing glass for over 20 years,has had his creations featured in galleries and museums around the world. In addition to his own work, Jack Pine Studio’s onsite gallery features the work of a number of other fine artists, from heavy metal sculpture to delicate glass jewelry. For studio history and details, jackpinestudio.com.
Enjoy food and fun and watch glass pumpkins being made.
Special guest blogger Kathy Witt, author of the soon to be released Cincinnati Scavenger:The Ultimate Search for Cincinnati’s Hidden Treasures, shared a new post.
High atop Beech Mountain in North Carolina and hidden within the trees is the somewhere over the rainbow: the Land of Oz. It is as magical as the world L. Frank Baum created in his classic Oz book series that was brought to the screen in the 1939 Academy Award-winning movie. And it is where those looking for their heart’s desire find the Yellow Brick Road.
The Land of Oz opens only during its annual events, including Autumn in Oz (www.landofoznc.com/autumnatoz), a festival featuring an interactive theatrical experience, with performances by the beloved Scarecrow, Tin Woodman and Cowardly Lion and frights compliments of the Wicked Witch of the West and her band of Winged Monkeys.
From the twister that rocks the Gale’s Kansas farmhouse to the Emerald City, visitors experience the story brought to life as the Yellow Brick Road unwinds through the site of the original 1970s theme park.
Autumn in Oz takes place over three weekends: September 9-11, 16-18 and 23-25, 2022. Admission tickets are $55 (www.showpass.com/o/land-of-oz-theme-park). Rounding out the fun are live performances, face painting, craft and memorabilia vendors and food and beverages for purchase. Add-on experiences: Scenic Lift Ride ($15), a round-trip chairlift ride to the park from Beech Mountain Ski Resort; and exclusive access to the Over the Rainbow Observation Deck ($6), for unparalleled views from the top of Beech Mountain on a site that has not been open to the public in more than 20 years.
The Klonteska Condominiums at 4 Seasons at Beech Mountain (www.beechgetaway.com) are homey and comfortable and have spectacular views of the mountains. Two-, three- and four-bedroom units feature private, covered balconies for taking in those views, plus gas-log fireplace, equipped kitchen and large whirlpool tub in the master bath. Located in downtown Beech Mountain, the condos are close to shops and restaurants, and a short and scenic drive to the Land of Oz.
Eat: When it comes to restaurants, Beech Mountain is all about the local experience, from the always-bustling Famous Brick Oven Pizza with live music, arcade and air hockey to the cozy and iconic Alpen Restaurant & Bar, a traditional European inn.
Locals and visitors alike find Fred’s General Mercantile (www.fredsgeneral.com) irresistible and can while away a couple of pleasant hours browsing its shelves. The store was established by Fred Pfohl in 1979 when the original Land of Oz Theme Park was still open. Pfohl worked summers at Land of Oz while attending Appalachian State University. When he and his wife, Margie, decided to build the store, Jack Pentes, who designed the theme park, prepared the blueprints.
Visitors come to Fred’s for fresh produce, stuffed animals, clothing, hardware, ski gear rentals and more. They also come to enjoy made-to-order breakfasts – the Fred Muffin is a fan fave – at Fred’s Backside Deli, as well as hot and cold sandwiches, grilled burgers, soups, salads and other lunch fare and sweets including cakes, pies and cookies.
Before heading to Autumn in Oz, stop in at the free-admission Beech Mountain History Museum (www.facebook.com/BeechMountainHistoricalSociety), a true jewel of a museum operated by Beech Mountain Historical Society volunteers. Inside is a diorama of the original Land of Oz Theme Park along with related memorabilia and the volunteer guides love to share the Oz chapter of Beech Mountain history. Also here is the definitive backstory of the park – Tim Hollis’ photo-rich book, The Land of Oz. Museum hours during Autumn in Oz are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.
Tim Hollis visited the Land of Oz on a rainy day in the summer of 1975, returned while working on his book, The Land of Oz, and then again for the book’s launch in 2016.
“The park is a unique opportunity to live through the plot of the movie,” he said.
Hollis also has a museum in his hometown of Dale, AL. Among the thousands of cartoon characters, board games, lunch boxes, Christmas and Halloween collectibles and more at the Tim Hollis Pop Culture Museum is “The Wizard of Oz” memorabilia: toys, games, coloring books, the 40 original Oz books written by Baum and his successors – even a smattering of park souvenirs. The free-admission museum is open by appointment only with 48-hour’s advance notice. Call 205-648-6110.
For more information, Autumn in Oz and Beech Mountain, visit Beech Mountain Visitors Center, www.beechmtn.com.
Fred’s Backside Deli’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie Recipe
9-inch pie crust
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C flour
1 1/2 sticks of room temperature butter
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 C walnuts
In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients and then fold in 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 1 cup of walnuts.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 350-degrees until a toothpick comes out clean. (Fred’s motto is, “If you can smell it, it’s about done!”)
About Special Guest Blogger Kathy Witt
Kathy Witt is an award-winning travel and lifestyle writer who writes a monthly syndicated travel column for Tribune News Service, is a regular contributor to Kentucky Living, Georgia and Travel Goods magazines and RealFoodTraveler.com as well as other outlets like County. She is the author of several books, including Cincinnati Scavenger (Fall 2022) Secret Cincinnati andThe Secret of the Belles, Her book, Perfect Day Kentucky: Daily Itineraries for the Discerning Traveler, another travel-themed book, will be released in Fall 2023. Kathy is a member of SATW (Society of American Travel Writers), Authors Guild and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
Natural social distancing and gorgeous fall scenery awaits visitors
LOGAN, OH – As the best time to experience the vibrant fall foliage gets into full swing, Explore Hocking Hills announced that Jack Pine Studios will host Jack Pine’s Glass Pumpkin Patch 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 22-25. After 25 years of being featured at the Circleville Pumpkin Show, Pine is hosting created glass pumpkin show, as a way of helping guests, artists and vendors displaced by the festival cancellation. The new highly collectible Pumpkin of The Year, crafted from gleaming black glass with hints of shimmery silver, represents the silver lining of hope within the darkness of 2020.
As part of community-wide efforts to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and to ensure the safety of visitors, artists and staff, only 75 people will be admitted for each two-hour time slot. Tickets are $5 and go toward any purchase made at the glass shop. With several acres of land serving as Jack Pine’s outdoor studio, along with a vibrant indoor gallery and demonstration studio, there is plenty of space for people to browse and watch as glass is being blown. Open time slots can be booked at www.jackpinestudio.com. Complete travel information for the Hocking Hills can be found at ExploreHockingHills.com.
“We wanted to create something new and fun and artistic,” said Artist Jack Pine. “Hundreds and hundreds of unique hand-blown glass pumpkins of every color and size will be spread across the field in front of our studio as a way celebrate the changing colors in the great outdoors. It will be a sight to see!”
Pine added that an artist’s market on the sprawling studio grounds will feature 10 fine craftsmen and women from around Ohio and the nation. Everything from beautiful birdhouses to stoneware, pottery, metal sculpture, stained glass lanterns and miniature glass pieces will be on display and for sale. Pumpkin ice cream, donuts and rolls will be complete the sensory experience, along with food vendors serving bourbon chicken, Texas tenderloin sandwiches, Amish noodles, funnel cakes and more.
As a graduate of the esteemed Columbus College of Art & Design, Jack Pine forged his signature glass-blowing technique working in world-renowned glass houses in Seattle before returning home to southern Ohio where he continues to perfect his craft. He is well-known for his extraordinary hand-blown radiant glass pieces inspired by the beauty of nature’s organic forms.
Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio’s Hocking Hills offers affordable lodging, from camping, cabins and cottages to hotels and inns. Miles of hiking trails, parks and forests; ziplines and guide services; and many more once-in-a-lifetime experiences join unique gift and antique shops, canoeing, horseback riding, golf, spas and more add to the allure of the Hocking Hills as the perfect place to unplug.