CHAGRIN FALLS - The 8th Annual Chagrin Documentary and Film Festival gets underway on Wednesday and features 80 entries.
One of them chronicles the evolution of Chagrin Falls' annual 'Pumpkin Roll.'
It’s a 50 year tradition.
Now Molly Gebler of Chagrin Falls has has rolled that legacy into a documentary "Grove Hill: A True Story" that premiered Tuesday evening in Riverside Park.
It started in 1967 as a prank by Chagrin Falls High Schoolers like Mike Solether. He’s one of the teens who got the pumpkins rolling.
They would graduate in ‘69 so it just made sense, he says, "That they wanted to collect 69 pumpkins and roll them all at one time because we were the class of '69," says Solether.
Solether, whose kids have now also pumpkin rolled, had NOOOOO idea what they had started!
"Well, the class of 72, they had about 2,000 pumpkins. So it escalated after that. Farmers were mad. Children cried from us stealing their pumpkins off their porch," Solether recalls.
Nowadays, the Pumpkin Roll has a social media campaign asking people to actually PUT OUT pumpkins designated for the roll.
It seems now in Chagrin Falls, some believe the family that rolls together stays together.
"We're rollers,” says Gebler. "Yes, both my daughters and my husband did it. I am a roller by marriage."
The director of the documentary, "Grove Hill" points out that not everyone is on board yet, but says, "It's a tradition. Our kids here are really good kids. This is the one time they kind of get to be a little rebellious," says Gebler.
They didn't always slip slide away in pumpkin goo.
In Mike Solether's pioneering day of pumpkin roll, it was just dump and run.
"It was a sneaky thing. Cat and mouse. We had to get rid of the pumpkins and get home before our parents even knew we were out," says Solether.
Yep, Pumpkin Roll has come a long way since Mike Solether let his hair down to bond with his class smashing pumpkins in 1967.
If you want to check out “Grove Hill”, you can see it Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at the Chagrin Valley Little Theater.
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