By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer
NEW HAMPSHIRE — New Hampshire is gearing up for its 25th this fall.
As pumpkin plants around the northeast are just beginning to bloom, the organizers — Let it Shine, Inc., and Sterling Design & Communications — will collaborate with the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce to provide programming for Pumpkin Festival 2015. The 2015 Pumpkin Festival runs from 10am-8:30pm on Saturday, Oct. 24 in the heart of NH, downtown Laconia.
Presented by ZIPPO, this is the first year it will take place in downtown Laconia. Following are the schedule for what officials say is a program that may vie for Guinness World Record for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place–record recaptured from Boston by Keene in 2013. A total of 30,581 jack-o-lanterns were reported.
The Runaway Pumpkin 10k & 5k Run/Walk 9 a.m.
Location: Laconia Athletic & Swim Club, 827 North Main Street, Laconia
Before the festival, first thing in the morning, a choice of distances, welcoming walkers as well as serious runners to this scenic course which includes the WOW Trail WOW is an acronym for the three lakes along the rail trail, Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam and Opechee.
Pronounced “Pumpkin Alley,” it’s Pump-Canal(y) Street for Kids
If renowned area artist Larry Frates achieves his vision, Laconia’s Canal Street will be orange from one end to the other with activities for kids and creative types of all ages. Shops on the street have their own special pumpkin plans, so do not miss this street in your explorations of Pumpkin Festival 2015.
Haunted Attractions for that Special Thrill
The Belknap Mill, the oldest, unaltered brick textile mill in the United States, has plenty of history to draw from for its planned haunted mill attraction. Stay tuned for details! And across town, the UCC/Congregational Church plans to send chills up many a visitor’s spine too.
ZIPPO, Official Lighter of Pumpkin Festival
In addition to hosting the Welcome Center near the Railroad Station, ZIPPO will be offering their official candle lighters for sale at their booth and at the Pumpkin Shop/s where festival logo souvenir t-shirts and other experience extenders can also be purchased.
The Pump(kin) Dump Derby 8:30pm
A race to clean up Pumpkin Festival involving competing teams, lottery-assigned territories and a grand prize $1000 to the team’s charity of choice. All teams who complete their territory win $100 for the charity of their choice. Sponsored by Shipyard Brewing.
Spectacular Pumpkin Tower Plus Thousands of Jack-o’-Lanterns on Street-level Displays
The signature tower is the centerpiece of Pumpkin Festival 2015. Streets will be lined with pumpkins and pumpkin spectators, for smooth strolling and the best viewing, unfettered by vendor booths and queues. Families and seniors will feel very welcome and handicap parking in excellent locations makes access easy. Live musical entertainment will add to the atmosphere on the bandstand and at other selected locations but the sights will carry the day!