Cass County Council on Aging hosting pumpkin decorating contest

CASS COUNTY — This week, the dining room at the Cass County Council on Aging will be decorated with spooky eyeballs, dashing peacocks and beloved children’s television characters.

The COA is hosting a pumpkin decorating contest with its staff, and the organization is inviting the public to cast a vote for their favorite pumpkins this week. The pumpkins, decorated as everything from farm animals to gumball machines, will be displayed Tuesday and Wednesday in the Cassopolis Lowe Center’s Dining Room and Thursday and Friday in the Dowagiac Front Street Crossing café.

COA customers and community members can vote on the respective dates by submitting a ticket vote for their favorite pumpkin at the two COA locations. First, second and third place winners will be announced Monday, Oct. 22.

“We are pretty excited about this,” said COA Human Resource Team Leader Bobbie Krynicki. “We like to do employee morale building activities and we like to do activities that engage the customers and community as well. So, we thought it would be really cool to also get the community involved to maybe check out some really cool pumpkins and help us select the winner.”

The pumpkin contest will be the first in nearly a decade that the COA has hosted, Krynicki said. Employee teams decorating the pumpkins had to use only materials they could find within the COA building, in order to make the contest both fair and a way for employees to build morale and teamwork, she added.

“The Cass County Council on Aging has a very important mission providing care and support to our senior population, and everybody takes that mission very seriously, as we should,” Krynicki said. “I think that also can cause a bit of stress and strain because we all want to do the right thing and do a good job in Cass County. So, I think activities like this encourages comradery, but also lightens things a bit and adds a bit of laughter in the organization, so we can refresh ourselves so that we can begin again on our mission.”

Though the pumpkin contest started as a way for employees have a bit of fun, adding in the community involvement through the voting process seemed natural, Krynicki said.

“We are here for the community, and it is our goal to be a very viable partner with the entire community,” she said. “We always like to involve the community and get our name out there to let people know we have all of these great services that are free or low cost that they may have never even heard of.”

The COA will display the pumpkins throughout the month of October, so that even those who were unable to vote on pumpkins can enjoy them, Krynicki said. Even so, she said she hopes that people will take the time to visit one of the COA locations this week to vote.

“We are really hoping that the community might want to stop by, have lunch and vote on a pumpkin,” she said. “We just want everyone to have some fun and enjoy the COA.”

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