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Gourds of glass: The Northwest tradition continues despite pandemic

This year the glass pumpkin patch is in one location, with social distancing rules in place. #k5evening

TACOMA, Wash. — “You can never have too many pumpkins,” says Denny Furman of Federal Way. She’s shopping for the kind of pumpkins nobody will carve. The kind that won’t rot in a week or two. She’s shopping for glass pumpkins, which have become a Northwest tradition over the past dozen years.

“They are all unique,” says Furman. “They are all different. I have to get one in every color. I put them out in September and they stay through Thanksgiving.”

2020 was nearly the year that shattered that tradition.

“Everything is different this year,” says Jeannine Sigafoos, who owns Tacoma Glassblowing Studio, where the tradition was born.

Rather than sell the glass pumpkins in different South Sound cities every weekend, drawing thousands of customers at a time, Sigafoos has rented a single 52-hundred square foot retail space near the Tacoma Mall.

“We are by appointment only so we can follow social distancing rules,” she says. “What's kind of great is it's a different shopping experience. You can take your time. There's a lot of elbow room.”

Sigafoos and her employees will run pumpkins out to your car. YOu can also buy them online. The keepsakes are as colorful as ever. And there are just as many as any other year. You'd never guess the artists fell way behind due to layoffs.

“For three months we didn't make any glass,” says Sigafoos

But thanks to the paycheck protection program, the artists are once again using a dash of magic and a whole lot of heat to bring glass pumpkins to life. Sigafoos just hopes the customers can find her.

“I think people want to support small businesses,” she says. “They want to buy local art. And it's kind of a win-win.”

Credit: KING TV
This year the glass pumpkin patch is in one location, near the Tacoma Mall, at 5003 Tacoma Mall Boulevard, Ste 101.

Denny Furman feels like she's won.

“It is wonderful,” she says. “It’s especially nice because there isn't a huge line like there normally is every year.”

That means she had plenty of time to add to her collection.

“And I had to of course get the signature pumpkin,” she says, unwrapping a glass pumpkin that is blue green and purple. “The 2020. I guess it's the pandemic pumpkin”.

You can find the glass pumpkin patch at is at 5003 Tacoma Mall Blvd Ste 101. The store faces the interstate and is next door to Chuck E Cheese.

KING 5's Evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.