by Kerry Breen
For the third consecutive year, the Hanover Township Committee held its annual “Pumpkin Challenge Contest,” a friendly competition between members of the Township Committee.
Participants included Committeeman George Coppola, who won both previous years, Mayor Ronald Francioli, Deputy Mayor John Ferramosca, and Committeeman Robert Brueno. The committee members celebrated the Halloween season by decorating their pumpkins to look like themselves. The committee members were given two weeks to decorate the pumpkins, so they could be displayed prior to the voting on Oct. 29.
For the third year in a row, Coppola came away victorious, with a pumpkin painted to look like a paratrooper. As the first-place winner, he was awarded a gift card and festive pumpkin pie donated by Robin Dente, the community affairs and public policy coordinator for the township.
The winner was decided by the public attending a local, Halloween-themed event.
“The members of the public who attend ‘Masquerade at Malapardis’ [a Halloween event held on Sat., Oct. 29, in Malapardis Park] who would like to participate, both kids and adults, cast their vote on the pumpkin they like the best by throwing a ticket in a cauldron with the name of the committee member on it whose pumpkin they like the best,” said Dente.
Prior to the event and subsequent voting, the carefully crafted pumpkins were showcased in the Recreation Department’s office at the Multi-Purpose Community Center so residents could take a look and consider their vote before the ‘Masquerade at Malapardis.’ The committeemen also took pictures posing with the pumpkins – perhaps so voters could see the resemblance.
Coppola won nearly half the vote, garnering 150 of the 316 casted votes. He is the undefeated winner of the pumpkin-decoration contest, having won both of the previous competitions as well.
Earlier versions of plans for the 2016 contest were even more elaborate, including a suggestion of having committemen decorate a scarecrow to look like themselves. However, in the end, tradition won out, and the pumpkin contest continued for another year.
The original idea for the contest came from the Department of Public Works, who challenged the Township Committee to take them on in a fun, light-hearted contest. It then became a contest specifically among members of the Township Committee. The competition has been running for two years now.