SCUBA divers participating in the 11th Annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest and Spooky Family Fair prep their pumpkins as they get ready to plunge into the depths of the pool at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center Saturday Night. October, 19, 2019. Bobby Block / The Signal.

City hosts 11th Annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving contest

While carving a pumpkin may be difficult in and of itself, the city of Santa Clarita invited residents to test their carving skills out underwater during the 11th annual Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest at the Spooky Family Fair Saturday.

In the event held at the Aquatic Center, divers suited up on the side of the pool, equipped with scuba diving gear, masks and tanks. A total of five teams of two competed this year, and each was told they had 30 minutes to carve a design of their choosing into the face of their pumpkins.

A camera, operated by Aquatic Center lifeguards, filmed underwater, tracking the contestants’ process. The camera feed was projected live onto a projection screen next to the pool, where children and their families cheered on their favorite designs.

Deana Applegate, a third-year competitor in the pumpkin carving contest, said she had enjoyed the competition so much in previous years that despite recently moving to Indiana, she flew back for the competition. For her partner, she asked Ron Watkins, a decades-long veteran diver, to join her in the water.

“Well it wasn’t something that I’ve ever done before,” said Watkins, who was competing for the first time this year. “But Deana had told me about it last year and how much fun she had doing it and she asked me if I wanted to do it with her this year and I said, ‘Sure.’”

“It’s good family fun and I like it,” said Applegate. “And there’s nothing better than Halloween, pumpkins and diving.”

Before the Underwater Pumpkin Carving Contest, city staff invited kids to trick or treat, play games and possibly win a prize.

In addition to the activities in the Aquatic Center, the city hosted a “Zombie Run,” a Halloween-themed game that combined tag, an obstacle course and city staff, dressed as zombies and ghouls, chasing contestants.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this event in youth sports,” said Rich Carr, recreation supervisor for the city of Santa Clarita. “It’s a fun opportunity for the kids to get out and engage in a Halloween activity.”

The objective of the event, according to Carr, was for flag-wearing kids to get through the entire obstacle course without a zombie pulling their flag. As Halloween music played on the spookily lit field, the kids raced through reaching safe areas, or stations, with trick-or-treating opportunities waiting.

“It’s important because it brings the community together,” said Carr. “It’s a fun recreational activity that families can enjoy, it’s safe and everyone can enjoy.”

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