Maude, Scott and Hugo Aldridge check out the giant pumpkin tower during Saturday evenings Pumpkin Fest in downtown Laconia. (Karen Bobotas/forThe Laconia Daily Sun)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — There wasn't a record-breaking number of illuminated pumpkins, but the number of people at the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival over the weekend made the event a success, organizer Karmen Gifford said Monday.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather,” said Gifford, president of Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce. “It was picture perfect. We anticipated over 40,000 attendees. We did not break any Guinness Records, but based on the crowds that continued to grow throughout the day Saturday and into the evening, the number of attendees far exceeded our expectations.”
Many people failed to bring a pumpkin.
“Experiencing this year’s street festival was more important than bringing along a jack-o'-lantern,” Gifford said.
Live music was an attraction throughout the evening and, at one point, drones aloft showed a crowd that was elbow-to-elbow throughout the festival area, Gifford said.
“There was live music in Veterans Square, Main Street and Beacon Street West,” she said. “The zip line and kiddie amusement attractions were a big hit. Local restaurants and merchants were great ambassadors to the City of Laconia. From horse-drawn hay rides, a zombie walk, costume parade, Riverside Duck Derby, a variety of delicious foods including the Great Pumpkin Cook-Off and even a TV production crew filming ‘State Plate,’ hosted by season 5 American Idol Taylor Hicks.”
The pumpkin record was set at 30,581 when the festival was held in Keene. The event moved to Laconia three years ago.
She said an attempt was made to count the pumpkins, which included 855 on a 34-foot-tall tower, but it quickly became obvious the record was not in jeopardy. There may have been about 5,000 pumpkins, all told.
The pumpkin-carving station was busy throughout the festival.
“There were constantly 20 people carving Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., when we ran out of pumpkins,” Gifford said. “Some used our tools, and some came with their own. It was definitely cool to see people enjoying themselves.”
Reuben Bassett said his restaurant, Burrito Me, had its best business day ever, eclipsing its previous high set at the festival two years ago. Festival crowds were limited last year because of rain.
“We were very pleased with the turnout,” Bassett said. “We had a line to the door for three-plus hours.”
The dates for New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival 2018 have been set for Oct. 12-13.
Julie Pitman carries her "Pumpkin Eater" down Main Street to find a perfect viewing spot as the official count begins on Saturday evening for Pumpkin Fest in Laconia. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
Families played a pumpkin bowling game at Bank of NH on Saturday afternoon. (Karen Bobotas/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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