Skip to main content

Logo for N.C. Cooperative Extension N.C. Cooperative Extension Homepage

2020 Somethin’ Pumpkin Goes Virtual

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Somethin’ Pumpkin is all about festival, family fun! From a cooking contest to our pumpkin decorating contest, it’s all about “somethin’ pumpkin” and includes activities for the whole family. Activities encourage individuals to connect not only with each other, but with their community through local agriculture and community programs. 

Somethin' Pumpkin 2020 poster

2020 Event Update

Plans are underway to host both the cooking contest and pumpkin decorating contest, while making modifications to ensure social distancing guidelines for COVID-19. Events held will comply with all requirements in the Executive Order issued by Governor Cooper and NCDHHS Guidance to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission of COVID-19. The safety of our guests is always our highest priority and we believe following these requirements and guidelines is in the best interest of our community.

1. Each entry must have first and last name of individual, address, phone number, email, and category of recipe. Entry forms and recipes are due by Friday, September 4th. Please be aware that recipe entries cannot be changed after the registration deadline.

2. Registration options:
a. Online: eventbrite online registration

b. Email: email copy of registration form and recipe to
c. US mail: mail registration form and recipe to: N.C. Cooperative Extension, Attn: Somethin’ Pumpkin Cooking Contest, PO Box 1578, Gastonia, NC 28053
d. Fax: fax registration form and recipe to: 704.922.2140

3. Recipes submitted must feature significant amounts of pumpkin and have a distinctive pumpkin flavor. Due to food safety concerns, no home-canned pumpkin is allowed to be used in recipes. Recipes can include: fresh pumpkin, commercially canned pumpkin, or frozen pumpkin.

4. Each person can enter only one recipe per category. Youth may participate in the Youth Category and Home Grown Category.

5. Judging will be based on Taste (40%), Originality (30%), Appearance (20%), and Texture (10%). The decision of judges will be final.

6. All entries are showcased at room temperature. Entries will not be refrigerated, heated, or held on ice after registration drop-off.

7. Contestants must use inexpensive, disposable storage containers for all entries as listed below:

  • Main dishes and casseroles: should be placed in a disposable container, such as aluminum baking pans or all-in-one pans designed for preparing, baking, and storing (such as Glad® OvenWare or other brands).
  • Baked goods (i.e., cakes, breads, cookies): should be placed on a sturdy disposable plate, sheet of cardboard, plastic platter, etc., and fully wrapped or boxed.
  • Soups, salads, stews, and dips: should be placed in a sturdy disposable container. For items that are warm, please use heat-resistant containers.
  • All dishes need to come “display ready” – you will not be able to set up your own dish/display.

8. Contestants do not need to provide serving utensils.

9. Quantity to submit for various foods:

  • Yeast Breads & Quick Breads – 1 mini loaf or 4 rolls
  • Cakes – 1 mini loaf or 4 slices
  • Cookies – 4 individual cookies
  • Cupcakes – 4 individual cupcakes
  • Biscuits – 4 individual biscuits
  • Candies – 4 pieces
  • Soups & Salads – one quart or 4 cups
  • Entrees – 4 x 4-inch container or 2 cups

10. Contestants are to bring the prepared dish to the designated drop-off location between 9 – 10 a.m., Saturday, October 3rd. Full details about drop-off will be provided to contestants upon receipt of entry form. Due to COVID restrictions, various drop-off locations will be used as needed including:

  • Citizens Resource Center (Dallas)
  • Main Branch Library (Gastonia)
  • Lucile Tatum Center (Gastonia)

Contestants will not be allowed to enter the set-up area where judging is held.

11. All food entries become the property of N.C. Cooperative Extension and will not be returned to you at the end of the event.

12. Winners will be announced on Saturday, October 3rd at the online Awards Presentation (12:00 – 12:30 p.m.). Checks will be mailed to winners.

13. Prizes will be awarded in each category as follows: first prize – $100; second prize – $50; third prize – $25. A grand prize of $200 will be awarded to the overall contest winner.

14. The N.C. Cooperative Extension has the right to use the recipes at its discretion. Recipes will be posted on N.C. Cooperative Extension’s website ( between October 19th – 30th.

15. This contest is intended for amateur cooks only. Professional chefs or those who earn a significant portion of their income from cooking may not enter the contest.

16. Employees of N.C. Cooperative Extension and Farm Bureau are ineligible to participate in the Somethin’ Pumpkin Cooking Contest.


We will continue to closely monitor the course of COVID-19 and both state and local protocols. Updates will be announced on our website and Facebook. For more information, contact Linda J. Minges

2019 Winners Announced

Congratulations to all participants of the 2019 Cooking Contest! With over 70 IMPRESSIVE pumpkin dishes, our judges had a very difficult time in selecting winners…but enjoyed every bite!

Click here for the 2019 Somethin’ Pumpkin Contestant Recipe Booklet

Cooking Contest Winners

Both youth and adults participated in the event with more than seventy entries, which included a wide variety of creative and delicious foods. Two new categories were added, which gave youth contestants even more opportunity to showcase their pumpkin-inspired cuisine. Eight contest categories included: 1) Main Dish, 2) Desserts, 3) Miscellaneous, 4) Home Grown, 5) Youth (ages 8-12):  Main Dish & Miscellaneous, 6) Youth: Ages 8-12 – Desserts, 7) Youth:  Ages 13-18:  Main Dish & Miscellaneous, and 8) Youth:  Ages 13-18:  Desserts.

Through the sponsorship of the Gaston County Farm Bureau prizes were awarded in each category: first place – $100, second place – $50, and third place – $25. A grand prize of $200 was awarded to the overall contest winner. Congratulations to all contest winners including:

Grand Prize Winner

picture of grand prize winner of the fifth annual somethin' pumpkin cooking contest

5th Annual Somethin’ Pumpkin Cooking Contest’s Grand prize winner – Shannah Grace Spargo.

Pumpkin Spice Cake – submitted by Shannah Grace Spargo of Belmont. Special recognition goes to Miss Spargo, who was a youth contestant in the Youth (Ages 8-12) categories.

Main Dish Category Winners

  • First Place: Fall Harvest Pizza – submitted by Jamie Smith of Lincolnton
  • Second Place: Spicy Pumpkin Chili – submitted by Christopher Smith of Mooresville
  • Third Place: Pumpkin Shells by the Sea – submitted by Ann Helms of Gastonia

Dessert Category Winners

  • First Place:  Pumpkin Roll Cookies – submitted by Ann Helms of Gastonia
  • Second Place:  Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Bars – submitted by Janet Bowen of Bessemer City
  • Third Place:  Pumpkin Delight Dessert – submitted by Sandy Long of Gastonia

Miscellaneous Category Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Dip – submitted by Hope Jordan of Gastonia
  • Second Place: Pumpkin Spice Truffles – submitted by Ann Helms of Gastonia
  • Third Place:  Pumpkin Pasta Sauce – submitted by Sandy Long of Gastonia

Youth: 8-12 Main Dish & Miscellaneous Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Sage Stuffed Shells – submitted by Sarah Scism of Bessemer City
  • Second Place:  Pig Candy Pumpkin Grilled Cheese – submitted by Payton Lenox of Mt. Holly
  • Third Place:  Spicy Pumpkin Chili – submitted by Shannah Grace Spargo of Belmont

Youth (Ages 8-12):  Dessert Category Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting – submitted by Sydney Sheppard
  • Second Place: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – submitted by Sarah Scism of Bessemer City
  • Third Place: Macadamia Nut Pumpkin Cookies – submitted by Addison Brooke Brown of Lincolnton

Youth (Ages 13-18): Main Dish & Miscellaneous Category Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Spice Casserole – submitted by Madison Dodd of Dallas
  • Second Place: Savory Pumpkin Pizza – submitted by East Gaston High School – Foods & Nutrition 1 Class Students:  Nathaniel Anderson, Allie Hinson, Camden Silvers, Trevar Williams
  • Third Place: Pumpkin Turkey Chili – submitted by East Gaston High School – Foods & Nutrition 1 Class Students:  Courtney Bethune, Gabby Carver, Caleb Cassada, Edan Senecal

Youth (Ages 13-18):  Dessert Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Cheesecake Delights – Submitted by Kelli McGuire of Maiden
  • Second Place: Praline Upside Down Pumpkin Cake – Submitted by East Gaston HS – Foods & Nutrition 1 Class:  Nick Adair, David Florex-Rodriguez, Amber Jones, Noah Pilgrim
  • Third Place: Pumpkin Pie Pop Tart – Submitted by East Gaston HS – Foods & Nutrition 1 Class

Home Grown Category Winners

  • First Place: Pumpkin Pecan Cake – Submitted by Addison Brooke Brown of Lincolnton
  • Second Place:  Pumpkin Fudge – Submitted by Dalton Scism of Bessemer City
  • Third Place: Pumpkin Pie Pop Tart – Submitted by Sarah Scism of Bessemer City

Pumpkin Decorating Contest Winners Announced

There were over 30 entries in Gaston County Public Library’s annual Pumpkin Decorating Contest. Participants were asked to decorate small pumpkins based on the characters and themes in Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s books, the most famous being Where the Wild Things Are. The pumpkins, in the categories of Kindergarten-2nd Grade, 3rd-5th Grade, and Family, were judged based on their creativity and the use of the Sendak theme. Three winners were announced at Somethin’ Pumpkin:

  • First Place, Kindergarten-2nd Grade: Alligators All Around – submitted by Addison Spurling
  • First Place, 3rd-5th Grade: Where the Wild Things Are Sea Monster – submitted by Carter Auciello
  • First Place, Family: Where the Wild Things Are Grass Hut – submitted by Shad Bumgarner
Winning entries of the 5th Annual Somethin' Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Winning entries of the 5th Annual Somethin’ Pumpkin Decorating Contest

Following Saturday’s event, all pumpkins were returned to the Main Library and placed on display in the children’s room for the people’s choice voting session.