Pump(kin) it up: Mason’s Pumpkins ready for third annual Harvest Festival

Published 4:22 pm Thursday, September 29, 2022

DOWAGIAC — A local middle schooler’s business venture is preparing for its biggest event of the year.

Mason Ausra, owner and operator of Mason’s Pumpkins roadside stand, is gearing up for Mason’s Pumpkins’ third-annual Harvest Festival taking place from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2 at Mason’s Pumpkins, 56450 California Road, Dowagiac. This time, he’s bringing friends.

Mason and his assortment of pumpkins will be joined by four fellow Dowagiac Union Schools students and their goods:

  • Avery Lyons, a Kincheloe Elementary student, will be selling homemade soaps
  • Kennedy Dwyer, a Dowagiac Middle School student, will be selling homemade meat sticks
  • Noah Tovar, a Justice Gage Elementary student, will be selling handmade rings and necklaces
  • Charlotte Maxey, a DMS student, will be selling handmade scrap fabric pillows and crochet bracelets

Hidden Acres Safe Haven will be at the event with kitten adoptions for $65 and a few other animals, and Disterheft Farms will be there offering fresh produce.

Lyons said she was inspired to make soaps after a friend showed her a video of someone making them. According to her, it takes just over an hour to make an item of soap.

“My mom made soaps when she was younger and she said it was really easy,” Lyons said. “We tried it one time and I thought it was really fun.”

Dwyer began selling meat sticks to raise money for sports and school.

It’s just fun to know that I’m helping sports and the school system with donations,” she said.

Tovar became interested in crafts after his mother showed him how to make necklaces. Since that day he continues to make necklaces, bracelets and rings. He said it takes him approximately 20 minutes to make jewelry.

“She said I should try it,” Tovar said. “I turned out to be pretty good at it.”

As for Mason and his annual pumpkin harvest, said this year’s crop turned out well.

“We had good weather in the spring and the summer,” he said. “They took off pretty well.”

Mason has been in the pumpkin growing business for five years and his mother Kristin Ausra has witnessed his entrepreneurial skills develop.

“He has taken a lot more ownership of what he wants to do and his ideas,” she said. “He has definitely taken more and more ownership of everything with his pumpkins.”

Mason looks forward to the festival and seeing his pumpkins on full display.

“Pumpkins have always been cool to me,” he said. “You can get so many different types of pumpkins, so that’s just fun. It’s pretty fun to see what comes out and the ends and see all my hard work.”