I grew up in Keene, NH (not far from where I live now), and one of my hometown’s claims to fame is their its annual pumpkin festival. Starting in 1992, Keene began having a yearly “harvest festival,” which they called the Pumpkin Festival (it even has its own Wikipedia page!) Its main purpose was to achieve the lofty goal of having the most jack-o-lanterns lit in one place at one time. For many years, they achieved this, basically unrivaled. However, other towns eventually tried their hand at the task and Keene lost the record to Boston in 2006.
This yearly event has personal meaning to our family because my daughter was born on Pumpkin Festival weekend in 2003, the last year Keene took the world record. We dropped off our pumpkins that Friday night, but never got to see them lit because I went into labor shortly after we got home! Every year my mother carves a “birthday pumpkin” for my daughter.
Sadly, the event has become so popular that it’s no longer very enjoyable to go at night. It’s disappointing that I can’t bring my children to see the lit pumpkins, but most years there is upwards of 50,000 people crammed on Keene’s little Main Street, so it’s probably downright dangerous to bring little ones there in the dark.
But, we still have fun going during the day. My daughter likes to march in the parade, so this year we went as Cruella de Vil (me) and two dalmation puppies. We had a good time, and the littlest puppy slept through the entire event.