PHOTOS: Pumpkin carving competition bringing local group of friends together

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — For one group of friends, pumpkin carving has developed into a friendly social media contest. 

For years, Jason Nettik and his friends have always got together on a fall afternoon to watch football and carve pumpkins. Nettik, a 2015 Augustana University graduate, said the tradition started during the final few years of college and continued after he and his friends graduated. 

“Everyone grows up carving pumpkins,” Nettik said. “It’s got to the point where everyone was a little competitive and they thought their (pumpkin) won. So then it was posted to Facebook and let friends and family decide.” 

This year, a group of seven pumpkins were carved during the afternoon gathering. The pumpkins are posted with numbers on Facebook and then voted on by friends and family. You can see the carvings pictured above and below.

Photo from Jason Nettik. The winner this year was No. 7, made by Jason.

This year’s Facebook post asking for friends and family to vote garnered more than 100 comments with a majority voting for No. 7.

“The Facebook (vote) aspect has got people focused,” Nettik said with a laugh. “I didn’t know if it was going to work out until I put a candle in it.”

Nettik said he thought each pumpkin carving takes about two or three hours. He said meeting with friends in the middle of October works well to catch up with old friends because summer activities have wrapped up.

“It’s kind of the perfect lull when you can get friends together at one place and have a fun afternoon,” Nettik said.

Lexi Nettik, Jason’s wife, joined the group four years ago and ended up winning her first three times. She created Pumpkin No. 1 this year. You can see some of her winning pumpkin carvings from 2020 and 2019 below. She was No. 7 in 2020 and No. 6 in 2019.

“I think every year we get a little bit better carving,” said Lexi, who added she has friends on Facebook who have admitted how much they enjoy voting for pumpkins each year. “It’s fun to see what people like.” 

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