Pumpkin Festival

I love traditions. This year marked the fifth year I traveled to New Hampshire for the Pumpkin Festival in Keene. I have an aunt who lives near Keene and it is a wonderful excuse to visit family and enjoy a local, fall festival. In years past, the weather has been a bit harsh, with cold northerly winds and icy rain. This year would prove to be very different.

On Saturday, I drove north thinking that I had missed most of the fall “color.” I love seeing the hills in riotous mix of red, orange and gold. This year, there wasn’t much red, but the hills were still impressive with their beautiful burnished golden tones.  Many times I turned a corner and said, “wow” at the beautiful hills.

The day was glorious, a true Indian summer day with temperatures in the 70’s. I brought a jacket out of habit, though it was unnecessary in the glorious weather. The streets were packed with people enjoying the festival, marveling at the carved pumpkins, and the vendors eager to sell their goods. There was a haunted church, a Ferris wheel, and a skate boarding area for the kids.

I love walking around and seeing the creatively carved pumpkins. I have a limited imagination for carving and my pumpkin always looks like a kindergartner carved it. And yet, I love the entire gooey, messy process of cleaning out the pumpkin, scooping out the pumpkin seeds and guts, and then laughing as I am unable to carve anything truly artistic.  As we walked around this year, my aunt said, “Look, Ramona, those aren’t any better than ours.” I peered at the pumpkins to see a small sign that said, “Mrs. X’s Kindergarten class.” I laughed as I read the confirmation of my assessment of my pumpkin carving skills.

a cute fox

The best part about the Pumpkin Festival is waiting for dusk when all the pumpkins are lit. This year, they were trying to break the world record. They wanted to have 32,000 carved pumpkins lit at one time. They had a little over 29,000 and though they didn’t break the record, it was a glorious sight to see.  I saw one of the Property Brothers from HGTV there as they were doing a show on Keene vs. a small town in Illinois that also has a pumpkin fest and currently holds the world record. I’m not quite sure what he was doing there, but I moved on to my favorite sight. I love the view of the large scaffolding at the square with the large pumpkin on top lit up with hundreds of pumpkins below. It is a truly wondrous thing to see.

pumpkins at the head of the square

the big lit pumpkin at the head of the square

If there are any fall festivals in your area, I hope you are able to visit and take part in them. I find them a great way to welcome in a beautiful season.

© Ramona Flightner

  • coach bill

    Mona: I did not get out of the city much this past few weeks…and even though they say that Fall folliage is at it’s peak… it does seem a bit bland… I agree that the red tones are missing. All I could think of was when I stayed at a farm that had a b&b, and the farm was famous for growing pumpkins. The farmer told me that he’d let me come back and harvest time to show me 1st hand how the pumpkins are cut, packed and loaded on the trucks !

    You blog also reminds me of my favorite Fall memory:
    “Linus: There he is! There he is! It’s the Great Pumpkin! He’s rising out of the pumpkin patch!
    [Linus faints and the “Pumpkin” is really Snoopy, meanwhile Sally is seething]
    Linus: What happened? Did I faint? What did he leave us? Did he leave us any toys?

    • Hi Bill!
      Thanks for visiting! I had a great time. Also, love the Linus story. Hope you are well.

  • Fantastic pumpkin display! Reminds me! I’ve still got to get mine.

    • Thanks for visiting! I had a great time and it really puts me in the mood for fall.

  • frankieandjohnny@charter.net

    Ramona I had no idea Keene had quite a autumn holiday festival. 29,000 is phenomenal ! Perhaps I could round up scores of grand kids to see it next year. It is such a lovely time of year, for New Englanders


    • Hi Frankie,
      I think you and the grandkids would love it! I have a great time and it’s so great to see a small town putting on a fun festival.

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