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Picking on Pumpkins


Lots of people love Halloween, but National Pumpkin Destruction Day is a smashing idea as well.
There’s a fun way to get rid of all the Halloween candy around the house once the holiday has ended – eat it. And now there is an ingenious way to dispose of your lovingly carved jack-o’-lanterns or your plain old pumpkins as well. It’s called National Pumpkin Destruction Day.

The first Saturday after Halloween has been designated National Pumpkin Destruction Day by no less of an authority than Chase’s Calendar of Events, the go-to reference guide on all special events, holidays, federal and state anniversaries, historical milestones and more that are celebrated worldwide.

And National Pumpkin Destruction Day got its humble beginnings at The Rock Ranch, founded in The Rock, Georgia by the late S. Truett Cathy of Chick-fil-A fame.

‘Smash It, Don’t Trash It’
The event started in 2007, the second year of the property’s efforts to promote agritourism, after hundreds of the ranch’s pumpkins did not sell before Halloween. The concept was the brainchild of Adam Pugh, senior director of operations and marketing at The Rock Ranch.

“We’re all about good stewardship and taking care of the land, and we thought it would be a good way to recycle pumpkins,” says Pugh. “We were going to compost the pumpkins and see if the cows would eat them. Before we compost them, we have to smash them up anyway.”

So why not get a little creative with the process and invite people to share in the fun?

After Pugh talked things over with Jeff Manley, the general manager, The Rock Ranch held the inaugural event the Saturday after Halloween.

They initially came up with several inventive ways to destroy pumpkins. Smash them to smithereens with a giant mallet – check. Pulverize them with a vibratory packer – check. Flatten them with a steam roller – check. Knock them to bits in a game of pumpkin bowling – check. Drop them from a 40-foot lift crane and watch them splatter on the ground – check.

“There are a whole lot of fun ways to pick on pumpkins,” say Pugh.

Their ingenuity has grown through the years, and The Rock Ranch has expanded its repertoire to about 15 ways to smash pumpkins. Now, they also take pumpkins up in an airplane and bomb an old tour bus with them. They blow them up into an explosion of orange; they shoot them from a cannon that propels them for half a mile – and then shoots out candy for children to scoop up at the end of each blast. They put them atop junk cars and ride over them with professional monster trucks. Or people can puncture them with darts or arrows in spirited rounds of pumpkin darts or pumpkin archery. Many of the pumpkin-smashing activities take place all day long, but some of the demolition takes place during scheduled events.

At the end of the day, ranch personnel scoop up the smashed pumpkins with tractors and feed them to the cattle or compost them into fertile soil.

“We encourage people to bring their own pumpkins, and we gather them up from area pumpkin patches,” Pugh says. “Smash it; don’t trash it.”

In other games, children can reach into a receptacle and see what they pull out – a handful of candy or a handful of pumpkin guts. For $6 per person, visitors also can ride in a monster truck.

Making Memories
Last year the ranch pulverized more than 6,500 pumpkins, and more than a dozen places in the United States and Canada now celebrate National Pumpkin Destruction Day as well.

“I hope in the next 10 to 15 years, it becomes what you do with your pumpkin,” says Pugh.

However, pumpkin smashing isn’t the only attraction at the 1,500-acre working cattle ranch. Others include cow-a-bunga zip lines, a carousel, a locomotive train, Tiny Town, a giant jumping pillow, tractor wagon rides, a corn maze, pony rides, Farm Land animal zoo, a corn bin, a cow train, pedal carts, gemstone mining, cane pole fishing, a rock climbing wall and family tug-of war. The Rock Museum, which houses more than 5,000 Georgia gems and minerals and a fossil dig station, also is available for exploring.

The ranch, which grows fresh produce, is dedicated to “Growing Healthy Families” as well.

“We want people to get outside, be healthy and make memories. We trick them into exercising,” says Pugh. “We try to make a positive impact with everything we do and use our property to benefit as many people as we can. Hopefully, when they leave, they’ll be happier than when they got here. The Rock Ranch is a neat experience for families that want to escape for a day.”

For overnight stays guests can reserve a limited number of Farm Stay houses or Conestoga wagons to sleep pioneer-style.

If You Go:
What: Pumpkin Destruction Day

When: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturday, November 2

Where: The Rock Ranch, 5020 Highway 36, The Rock, Georgia

How Much: $22.24 general admission; $20.01 per person for groups of 25 or more

More Info: (706) 647-6374 or therockranch.com

By Morgan Davis

Photos courtesy of The Rock Ranch

Care More Animal Hospital

Pet Care

Care More Animal Hospital is a full-service, AAHA accredited veterinary medical facility, located in Martinez, GA. The professional and courteous staff at Care More Animal Hospital seeks to provide the best possible medical, surgical and dental care for their highly-valued patients. We are committed to promoting responsible pet ownership, preventative health care and health-related educational opportunities for our clients.

Care More Animal Hospital strives to offer excellence in veterinary care to Augusta, GA and the surrounding areas.

Please take a moment to contact us today, to learn more about our veterinary practice and to find out more information about how Care More Animal Hospital can serve the needs of you and your cherished pet.

4016 Old Blackstone Camp Rd
Martinez, GA 30907
Phone: (706) 650-1839

Or visit our website at caremoreanimalhospital.vetstreet.com

Martinez Animal Hospital

Pet Care

ALL THE BEST DAWGS GO TO Martinez Animal Hospital!
Services: • Preventative Health Programs • Wellness Exams • Orthopedics • Surgery • Laboratory • Ultrasound • Radiology • Thermal Imaging  • Vaccinations  • Dentistry  • Boarding • Equine  • Exotics

3942 Washington Road Martinez, GA 30907

(706) 863-1223

Please visit our website at  martinezanimalhospital.vet

Still Waiting

What's New 2019

Augusta University Health system has been waiting for the go-ahead to build a hospital in Columbia County on Gateway Boulevard in Grovetown for nearly five years, and the waiting game is not over yet. Columbia County is the largest county in Georgia without a hospital.

According to AU Health officials, construction cannot begin until all certificate of need appeals have been exhausted.

Doctors Hospital has opposed the proposal, and on April 30, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court decisions, which upheld the Georgia Department of Community Health decision to grant AU Health the certificate of need to build the county’s first hospital.

In May, however, Doctors Hospital filed a writ of certiorari, which orders a lower court to deliver its record to a higher court for review, to the Georgia Supreme Court. In response, AU Health and the state Department of Community Health filed notices on June 10 and 11, respectively, asking that the court disregard this latest appeal by Doctors Hospital.

AU Health officials says it could be four or five months before they know if the state Supreme Court will hear the appeal or not. If the court declines to hear the appeal, then AU Health will have a clear certificate of need and be able to move forward with planning and construction.

According to the master development plan, the campus would include a 28,000-square-foot urgent care facility; a 100-bed, 259,649-square-foot hospital; a three-story medical office building; a two-story medical office building; a 50,000-square-foot health/wellness village where businesses that provide health and wellness services could lease space; about 1,800 parking spaces and a hotel/conference/fitness center with 500-plus parking spaces.

Orthopedic Associates of Augusta, P.A.

Resource Guide

Since 1969, our practice has provided quality, comprehensive orthopaedic care in the CSRA. Our physicians are board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, and are available to provide general orthopaedic care as well as specialty care, including hand and upper extremity surgery, sports medicine rehabilitation,  arthroscopic surgery, foot and ankle surgery, and treatment of spinal disorders. Our total joint replacement program is second to none, and includes the newest minimally invasive procedure for hip replacement.   For the convenience of our patients, we have locations both in Augusta and in Evans, as well as an orthopaedic surgery center that provides a comfortable and caring atmosphere for most out-patient surgical procedures.   We also offer an after-hours clinic for orthopaedic urgent care at our Evans location from 5:30 – 8:30 pm Monday through Thursday.  Walk-ins are welcome at the after-hours clinic.

University Professional Center
811 13th Street, Suite 20 | Augusta, GA 30901
(706) 722-3401

Evans Town Park
2511 Associates Way | Evans, GA 30809
(706) 854-2140

VISIT OUR WEBSITE AT www.oaapa.com


Pediatric Partners of Augusta

Resource Guide

Pediatric Partners of Augusta is the largest private practice group of Board Certified Pediatricians and Board Certified Pediatric Sub Specialists in the CSRA. Our goal is to partner with parents in helping their children to grow into healthy and happy young adults.

We have two office locations to better serve our patients, one in downtown Augusta and one in Evans.  Our Evans office also has our After Hours Clinic, which is open 365 days a year  for your convenience and is always staffed by one of our Board Certified Pediatricians.

Our Sub Specialists include Pediatric Allergy, Pediatric Cardiology and Pediatric Neurology, all of whom have on site diagnostic testing for your convenience.  Often we are able to schedule referrals to our specialists within 48 hours, and urgent referrals are seen that same day.

1303 d’Antignac Street • Suite 2600
Augusta, GA 30909

411 Town Park Blvd
Evans, GA 30809

5135 Wrightsboro Road
Grovetown, GA 30813


Visit our patient portal at www.PedPartners.com

George W. Williams, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.O.G.

Resource Guide

George Williams, Jr. M.D. was born in Douglas, Georgia and now resides in Augusta. He received his Bachelor of Arts-Chemistry at Emory University, then attended the Medical College of Georgia to obtain his Doctor of Medicine. Dr. Williams joined OB/GYN Associates of Augusta (now OBGYN Partners of Augusta) in 1990.

Dr. Williams is Board Certified and a Fellow in the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He was nominated to Best Doctors and received Teacher of the Year Award while on the clinical facility of MCG (now Augusta University Medical Center). He has state licenses in Georgia and South Carolina. Dr. Williams has two children and a granddaughter.

1348 Walton Way. Suite 4100 • Augusta, GA 30901

Visit our website at obgynaugusta.com