They've been trying to ban the Pumpkin Roll since I participated in it nearly 30 years ago - just move your stupid cars and stay out of the way:
- If Chagrin Falls students try to stage their annual Pumpkin Roll this year, police say heads will roll, too.
Students are gourded for a fight.
In defiance of police threats, the students vow to keep the decades-old tradition alive.
"I don't want to be the class that stopped the Pumpkin Roll," said senior Molly Fishell, 17. [Cleveland.ocm]
It's tradition, dammit! The town is built on real and/or faux tradition.
- Each year after Halloween, juniors and seniors smash hundreds of pumpkins on Grove Hill on Main Street and slide through the goo on plastic sleds, garbage can lids or large pumpkins.
Students say they don't know when this year's event will happen. They generally find out from a chain of phone calls hours before the gathering, which usually begins after 2 a.m. Part of the fun, they said, is to keep police guessing.
"Gee, Mr. Reporter, I think we'll tell you so that several-hundred-thousand people and the police can join us."
- Senior boys collect the pumpkins, often by theft from doorsteps and porches. Villagers and farmers expect the thefts, although some farmers donate.
"Villagers" - sounds quaint. Back in my day there was no damn "donating" - you had to crawl around in the mud and steal the pumpkins like a man with the specter of rock salt and shotguns hanging over your sniffling head.
- Cops pledged to end the tradition after last year's event, when one student broke his teeth, another suffered a concussion and four were arrested. A boy tossed a pumpkin at a cruiser, smashing the windshield.
That turmoil was an aberration, students said. It was caused by younger students who weren't supposed to be there, several said.
Zowie, I didn't hear about that - no wonder the cops are pissed.
- The Pumpkin Roll is not sanctioned or encouraged by school officials, said Superintendent David Axner. The day after, students are either sleepy or absent, which hurts instruction.
"Good or bad, it is a tradition," he said. "They see it as a rite of passage."
....Frances Killea, 17, a senior, said villagers like to fuss.
"Chagrin residents get a little bored," she said. "There weren't any murders or arsons last year, so we need to make a big deal out of the Pumpkin Roll."
Solution: cops pretend to be concerned, hang loosely around the periphery, don't get involved unless there's blood or rampant property damage. Just like the last several decades.