New England would be remiss if it didn't celebrate the arrival of fall. Fall festivals, jaw-dropping foliage colors and apple cider are just a few of the well-known ways we mark the change in seasons. But where would fall be without its iconic harvest crop -- the pumpkin? Imagine Thanksgiving Day without pumpkin pie or Halloween without jack-o-lanterns. It just wouldn't be right. That's where the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival comes in.
The Keene Pumpkin Festival is an internationally-known fall festival that honors the beloved orange orb with the most impressive collection of carvings you've ever seen. People flock from miles, states and even countries away to witness, and contribute to, one of the nation's largest pumpkin collections. For over twenty years, pumpkin festival lovers have gathered in downtown Keene, New Hampshire to combine their finely carved jack-o-laterns in the ultimate fall celebration.
The Keene Pumpkin Festival even held the Guiness World Record for the Most Lit Jack-O'-Lanterns Displayed. Its record of 28,000 pumpkins was later broken by a fall festival in Boston, Massachusetts that tallied 30,128 jack-o-lanterns. That's a lot of hours carving faces and scooping out seeds. So now there's even more reason to visit the Keene Pumpkin Festival and help to reclaim the world record. (Just don't forget your pumpkin.)
WHERE: Downtown Keene, New Hampshire WHEN: October 20, 2012, Noon-8:30pm
Not only is the Keene Pumpkin Festival a popular local tradition, but it's one of those great family-friendly activities to do with kids. Kids (of all ages) can preview their Halloween outfits during the children's costume parade and enjoy fun activities like the 45-foot ferris wheel, pumpkin carving and even pumpkin bowling. Food vendors offer a wide selection of lunch items and pumpkin-inspired treats. Come early to join the one-mile foot race, enjoy a mid-day picnic in the pumpkin-lined common and stay to see the tower of pumpkins lit up after dark.
Carving pumpkins can be tiring, luckily we've got lots of short-term rentals just under an hour from the festival grounds. With any luck, this will be the year they smash (pun intended) the World Record again and you'll get to be a part of the historical moment.