KEENE, N.H. (AP) — A pumpkin festival in New Hampshire fell about 1,500 pumpkins short of smashing the world record for the most lit jack-o’-lanterns on Saturday.
A children’s costume parade, pumpkin basketball — and a 45-foot tower filled with thousands of lit jack-o’-lanterns — were the highlights of the 22nd annual Keene Pumpkin Festival.
But the prospect of a record was also on the line. Saturday’s festival was being featured in an HGTV “Property Brothers” cable television special, “Pumpkin Wars,” to be broadcast on Halloween. It was competing against Highwood, Ill., for the record.
Highwood set the record at 30,919 last year. Crews are filming in both places.
Organizers at the Keene event say they amassed 29,381 pumpkins, the highest the festival has ever seen. The goal was to top 32,000 jack-o’lanterns.
The Keene festival has set a world record for the most lit pumpkins at least seven times. The last time was in 2003, with 28,952 jack-o’-lanterns.
The event has grown through the years. When Keene set its first world record in 1993, it did so with 4,817 lit pumpkins.
It’s estimated that the state earns about $250,000 in meals and room taxes from the festival.
This year, the festival featured pumpkin bowling and basketball, as well as a Haunted Alley and Great Pumpkin Mile Race.
One new event is the Pumpkin Dump Derby — a cleanup contest featuring teams assigned to certain areas of the festival after it ends. The team with the fastest time wins $1,000 for a charitable organization.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.