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Making Jack-o’-Lantern History: Break a World Record at the Keene Pumpkin Festival

Oct 14, 2014 01:01AM ● By Ryan Frisch

Grab your carving tools and a pumpkin or two, and help set a new Guinness World Record! The Keene Pumpkin Festival takes place this year on Saturday, October 18th. The day is filled with face painting, costumes, live music, tasty treats, and plenty of Halloween spirit. Whether you come for the delicious food, to demonstrate your pumpkin-carving skills, or to join in the competitive drive to break a world record, be in downtown Keene on the 18th for an unforgettable event.

The day begins at 6am, when Main Street is closed to cars and the set-up and decorating begin. If, in anticipation of downing funnel cake and pumpkin pie, you are craving a bit of physical exertion, register for the Great Pumpkin Mile, a one-mile fun-run for runners, joggers, or walkers. Enjoy this early-morning opportunity to run along one of New Hampshire’s busiest streets while it’s car-free. From 11:30am to 8:15pm, you can enjoy nutritious snacks (and some not so nutritious) at the Food Court, where you’ll have a hard time choosing among pumpkin-inspired breads, soups, cakes, wraps, and more. After a bite to eat, stroll down Main Street and visit the vendor booths along the sidewalks. Look for the bandstand and street performances, offering entertainment with local talent throughout the day.

Kids, of course, will revel in the festival activities. Make sure they’re creatively costumed so they can join the Annual Costume Parade down Main Street at 12:30pm. To take in all the sights from on high, hop on the Ferris wheel. When Halloween hunger hits, make your way to Ramunto’s for a “make-your-own-pizza” exclusive for kids. Just don’t miss the spooky Magic Show sponsored by the Keene Public Library at 2pm! From 2 to 6pm, kids can try pumpkin bowling, using small, hard baking pumpkins to knock down bowling pins in the street. Be sure your children tote a candy collection bag; they can trick-or-treat all day long at vendor stands. Most importantly, allow them to participate in breaking the world record. Bring jack-o’-lanterns carved at home, design and carve one at the carving station, or adopt a jack-o’-lantern at the “Pumpkin Orphanage.” Bring a candle or two to illuminate your creation (and to meet the Guinness record definition of a jack-o’-lantern as “an illuminated, carved gourd”). To help raise the tally, log your pumpkin into the system at one of the seven Welcome Centers at the entrances to the festival.

At the end of Main Street, you will encounter the greatest spectacle of all—the Spectacular Pumpkin Tower on Central Square. Here, jack-o’-lanterns of all shapes and sizes are collected and stacked on wooden scaffolding to create a formidable wonder. These jack-o’-lanterns, as well as the thousands lined up along the street, will be lit starting at 4pm to create a glowing, spooky aura at sunset. Imagine the magic of just one bright jack-o’-lantern sitting on your porch, and then multiply that by thousands—30,581 to be exact—the jack-o’-lantern Guinness World Record achieved last year at the Keene Festival. Help make history on October 18th at 6:50pm, when for five minutes, the city of Keene will attempt to surpass its own record for “most lit jack-o’-lanterns displayed.” Best of luck to all the costume-clad participants! For more information on the festival, visit the website.

What has been the most creative jack-o’-lantern design you have seen or created at the Keene Pumpkin Festival? Send us your photos!

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