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Jack-o-lanterns glow at Laconia Pumpkin Festival

  • Scenes from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Swing Rocket performs during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Aaliyah Nolin, 8, gets a view of the festival from the top of a staircase during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Aki Moriguchi, 8, of Brookline, Mass., throws an orange frisbee with his father Kazu Moriguchi during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Jordan Lake, 4, of Laconia waits for a costume parade to start during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Scenes from the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Colton Emerson, 6, of Tilton looks for the pumpkin he helped carve at school during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff

  • Lillian Garbati helps light jack-o-lanterns during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival.

  • A tower of jack-o-lanterns is seen during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday.

  • A tower of jack-o-lanterns is seen during the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz—Monitor staff


Associated Press
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Organizers of a Laconia pumpkin festival launched a new effort to break the world record number of illuminated jack-o-lanterns.

The city of Laconia celebrated the pumpkin festival on Saturday night, three years after violence forced its cancellation in Keene. Saturday’s festivities began at noon.

Keene had hosted the October event since 1991, but violence in 2014 prompted the City Council to reject the festival’s permit. Police used tear gas to control crowds during alcohol-fueled disturbances near Keene State College.

The festival has been held in Laconia since 2015. Visitors were encouraged to bring a jack-o-lantern and a candle to contribute toward the world record attempt.

The festival had been a family friendly event for more than 20 years and broken world records for most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place. Keene had wrested the jack-o-lantern record from Boston in 2013.

About 40,000 people were expected to visit Laconia between Friday and Saturday.

This year, Keene city council members decided to bring back a separate, smaller festival more focused on children. The vote came after administrators at Keene State College said they had seen social media posts suggesting big parties or dangerous behavior could return.

That pumpkin festival is scheduled for Oct. 29.

It was not immediately known as of press time if the record had been reached.