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Keene Mayor Kendall Lane tells a crowd of thousands from the Central Square gazebo Saturday night that the Keene Pumpkin Festival just missed breaking the world record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns by about 1,500. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)

Official numbers: Attempt at world record comes up short

KEENE — The Keene Pumpkin Festival came up 1,538 jack-o-lanterns short this year in its attempt to break the world record it originated in 1991 for the most carved and lit pumpkins.

Thousands of people gathered around the gazebo in Central Square on Saturday night for the announcement of the count.

Before making the announcement, Keene Mayor Kendall Lane told the crowd to turn around and high-five each other for their effort, then said the lit jack-o-lantern total was 29,381.

The number of jack-o-lanterns failed to break the world record set by The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival of Highwood, Ill., last year of 30,919.

According to the Highwood Park News on Sunday, Highwood boasted about 38,000 jack-o-lanterns at its festival Saturday.

This is the second year in a row the festivals have dueled for the world record.

The attempts of both the 22nd annual Keene Pumpkin Festival and the second annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival to break the Guinness Book of World Records mark for the most lit jack-o-lanterns is to be featured on a one-hour cable television special Pumpkin Wars, set to air on Halloween.