In 1991 Keene, New Hampshire had a harvest festival that attracted a few local people who brought about 600 jack o lanterns. By 2003 the harvest festival had become a pumpkin festival and the number of lit jack o lanterns had risen to 28,952. The Guinness World Record people became interested that year and gave Keene the record for the most lit jack o lanterns assembled in one place. Boston took the record from Keene in 2006 with 30,128 jack o lanterns. This year on October 19th Keene took back the world record with 30,581 lit jack o lanterns and I was there taking photos. I thought I’d show you a few of the better ones. These were all taken in the dark without a tripod, so I’ll warn you that they aren’t the sharpest photos you’ve seen. Even so, I’d guess that most of you have never seen anything quite like 30,581 lit jack o lanterns.
There were mischievous jack o lanterns.
There were wise jack o lanterns.
There were cute jack o lanterns.
And there were some that I really didn’t get. Maybe this was someone’s initials.
I’m not sure who this one was supposed to represent, but it must have been windy where they were.
There were row upon row of jack o lanterns everywhere you looked. Volunteers lit the candle in each one and then more volunteers came along behind them to count them all. This works best when there is no wind!
There were towering jack o lanterns exhibits. There used to be several of these pumpkin towers along the main street but organizes worried about them tipping over onto the crowd, so now there is just this one. It is quite tall.
The biggest jack o lantern always gets the highest perch.
There was live music in the gazebo, which was surrounded by jack o lanterns. I tried to get a photo of the crowd but it didn’t work out. If you picture a crowd of people packed together so tightly that you couldn’t fall down if you wanted to, you’ll have a good idea of what it was like. The population of Keene-around 23,000-can swell to 80,000 during a pumpkin festival. It took me nearly 2 hours to walk up and down the length of Main Street. Doing so might take 15 minutes on an average day.
There was even a full moon that night.
Some of the gourds were quite warty.
I’m still not sure who this is supposed to be, but someone with talent carved it.
This gourd was eating a fish. I’m not sure why.
These two were the most elaborate, with doors that opened and even dolls and furniture inside.
This one was odd. I don’t know if it was a giant zucchini or something else, but it had a whale on it.
Some jack o lanterns were just evil, no matter if you took a photo in bright light….
This one must have represented Swiss cheese.
There were lots of cats.
There were pirate ships. I saw 3 or 4 of these.
There were several ghosts.
A few haunted houses.
There were flaming faces.
And of course, there were skeletons. Or at least skulls.
After snapping about a hundred photos I was off into the night, hoping I’d be able to find my vehicle in a sea of them. This is the first pumpkin festival I’ve been to since 1993, and it might be another 20 years before I see another one.
When witches go riding, and black cats are seen, the moon laughs and whispers, ’tis near Halloween ~Anonymous
Have a happy Halloween. Thanks for coming by.