LACONIA — Let It Shine, Inc., in partnership with Sterling Design and Communications and the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, this week announced the schedule for the Pumpkin Festival, which will be held downtown on Saturday, October 24, beginning at 10 a.m.
An hour before food and craft courts open and the ferris wheel spins at 10 a.m. , walkers and runners in the Runaway Pumpkin will cover their choice of five or ten kilometers , following a scenic course that includes the WOW Trail. Participants register at the Laconia Athletic and Swim Club at 827 North Main Street.
Lead by Cinderella's pumpkin coach from Story Land, the Children's Costume Parade, starting on Church Street and looping through Pleasant Street, Main Street and Beacon Street East, will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Canal Street will become PumpCANALy with a ribbon-cutting after the parade. Painted orange, the street will filled with carved pumpkins, lined with orange trees and lit by pumpkin street lights to serve as a venue for games, face painting, balloon artistry, caricaturists, magic shows, story telling, musical performers, photo booths and giant inflatable characters. All crowned by Nazzy & Mya's Block Party.
Pop the Pumpkin, Pumpkin Toss, Fish for Pumpkins and Pumpkin Ring Toss will be played throughout the day. Meanwhile, there will be pumpkin pinatas from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Donuts on a String from 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., musical pumpkins from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. and pumpkin pass from 2 to 2:30 p.m., hosted by the Laconia Kiwanis Club and Laconia High School Key Club. And from noon until 6 p.m. pumpkins will be rolling and candlepins falling at the pumpkin bowling alley at the Bank of New Hampshire.
The Pumpkin Express, operated by the Hobo and Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad, will run excursions throughout the day of the festival, leaving the Railroad Station at Veteran's Square every hour on the hour between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children and those two and younger ride free.
Welcome centers will be open at several entrances to downtown where visitors can log in their carved pumpkin or arrange to carve a pumpkin at the Community Carving Center at the Bank of New Hampshire.
The lighting of the pumpkins will begin at 4 p.m. The festival has been registered with Guiness as an attempt to break the world record for the most lit jack-o'- lanterns in one place of 30,581, which was set in Keene in 2013. With the jack-o'-lanterns lit at 6:30 p.m. the attempt to break the record will be made at 6:50 p.m. and the final count announced at 8 p.m.
When the festival ends at 8:30 p.m. the Pumpkin Dump Derby begins as competing teams race to collect the pumpkins within designated zones. The chosen charity of the first team to clear its territory will we awarded $1,000 and all teams that clear their territories will receive $100 for their favorite charity. The derby is sponsored by Casella Waste Systems, Inc.