Oct 2010

New England Heritage: Keene Pumpkin Fest

New Englanders truly love the Fall. The days get shorter and the cool air has a fresh crisp scent to it. The agriculture in New England is ripe with delicious apples and glorious pumpkin patches. It’s the time of year to really relax and enjoy every moment of life. The town of Keene sits in a valley by the Monadnock Mountain of New Hampshire and could be called the center of New England. This town has held a long standing tradition for nearly 20 years. On a Saturday in mid-October thousands of New Englanders flock to Keene to witness the spectacle of their annual Pumpkin Festival. It’s home to one of the largest collections of lit jack-o-lanterns at one time. Nothing gets you in the Fall harvest spirit like carving a pumpkin and watching it illuminate at night. Now imagine that 30,000 times. Hence why they held the 8th World Record in 2003 for 28,952 pumpkins to be exact and landed them in the Guinness Book. In 1992, the festival’s second year, they set the first world record of 1,682 pumpkins and set the next 7 world records after that. Eight World Records? Not bad for a town with a population of just over 22,000. But it’s not just the town contributing. Folks from all over come to Keene and bring their own jack-o-lantern to add to the tower. In 2006 they estimated 80,000 spectators in attendance. Now if everyone brought just one pumpkin, they’d kill the record again. Seriously, just check out how high that scaffolding is in the photo. It’s even more amazing and breathtaking in person. Will they set the record again this year? Find out and help them beat it this Saturday, October 16. Stroll down Main Street and zip up your hoodie as you get to see thousands of beautifully carved pumpkins light up the night. Fun for everyone, there’s music, games, food and even fireworks for the finale. Don’t forget to bring your pumpkin for them to display. At the end of Main Street by the Center Stage you’ll notice the Parrish Shoes mural on the brick wall may look familiar. That’s because it’s where part of the Jumanji movie was filmed. Wonder what they do with all those pumpkins? Well the next day, the local farmers have a nice pumpkin feast for their pigs. Who doesn’t like pumpkin spice? Now that’s a sustainable town.

For all the festival info, history, records and pumpkin drop-off locations visit PumpkinFestival.org.