After Violence, Venue Change, Jack-o-Lantern Fest Fizzles

New Hampshire's onetime record-breaking festival hits less than a third its goal
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 25, 2015 1:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – A pumpkin festival failed to scare up a world record for jack-o-lanterns. The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia was trying to break the record of more than 30,500 lit jack-o-lanterns. It came up far short Saturday, with only 9,567 pumpkins. The festival was previously held in Keene. That city wrested the jack-o-lantern record from Boston in 2013. Despite the failure, one organizer sees a "silver lining," telling WMUR: "There is one really great thing about less than ten thousand pumpkins. You would not believe how much easier that is to clean up than 30-thousand pumpkins."

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The next year, violence and scores of arrests soured the festival's relationship with it longtime host city. The violence, which started at alcohol-fueled parties linked to Keene State College, prompted the City Council to reject the festival's permit for 2015. Laconia then announced plans to take over the festival. Officials said the town's experience hosting an annual motorcycle week that attracts thousands provided confidence it could manage public safety for the pumpkin festival. (Read more Halloween stories.)

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