Keene Pumpkin Festival sets lit jack-o'-lantern record
By MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent | October 20. 2013 6:38PM
Main Street in Keene was jack-o-lantern central during the 22nd annual Keene Pumpkin Festival Saturday. (MEGHAN PIERCE PHOTO)
"Tonight this is the center of America," Keene Mayor Kendall Lane told the crowd gathered in Central Square Saturday night. "Tonight we have achieved 30,581. Tonight we hold the world record."
The 22-year-old festival that attracts about 80,000 people to the city each year originated the Guinness category in 1991 with 600 jack-o'-lanterns and went on to set the record a total of eight times.
The world record attempt was bolstered this year by Keene business C&S Wholesale Grocers, which donated 20,000 pumpkins to the public days before the festival. Festival attendees continued to drop off carved pumpkins throughout the festival, which started at noon.
"The pumpkins are beautiful, but you are outstanding," Kelly said to the crowd gathered for the 8:15 p.m. announcement.
Cheers rang out throughout the square at the announcement and organizers, including Ruth Sterling of Let it Shine Inc., and festival founder Nancy Sporborg, linked arms and started chanting "bring it home."
He beat the record of 102 with 135 jack-o'-lanterns carved.