Festivals and Fairs, oh my!

Today we decided to head toward the coast to hit a couple of fall family events. Our first stop was the 5th Annual Hampton Falls Craft Festival just a hop-skip down the road from Exeter.  Fall was in the air as booth after booth featured Halloween or pumpkin themed crafts in addition to a variety of other artistry such as hand blown glass, original watercolors, photography, soaps, basketry, and, mmmmm… fudge!

We had a fun time enjoying the food, the music, the incredible art but I was most excited to have my first ever taste of a popular Italian desert…. a cannoli. “The Original Canoli Girl From The North End” of Boston began making cannolis with her Nonni when she was 6 years old. She surprised her grandmother with a homemade sign for her business…with  cannoli spelled wrong. She said her Nonni loved it and the spelling stuck.

"Canoli Girl"Very well-known, she has taken up where her grandmother left off and takes her business on the road selling these popular sweets. I give my original and authentic cannoli an A+. Want a bite?

IMG_6301 IMG_6303On our way back to Exeter, we stopped at our second festival at Applecrest Farm Orchards where folks were there for apples, pumpkins and atmosphere. U-Pick or buy apples by the bushel, pick out a pumpkin in the fields or already lined up, plain or painted. There was also food on the grill, fresh ice cream, mums of all colors and, of course, lots of vegetables inside. We walked away with tomatoes and a smile.

………………………………….Click on any photo to enlarge 

If you build it, they will come…

This weekend we joined our son and thousands of people in Keene, New Hampshire, for their 21st annual Pumpkin Festival. It was our first time at the festival and we came bearing our own artfully hand-carved pumpkins. This year brother Drew Scott of HGTV’s “Property Brothers” and camera crews were in attendance to spur on friendly “Pumpkin Wars” with the town of Highwood, Illinois where Jonathan Scott stirred up those residents and visitors. Each community competed to see which town could set a new Guinness world record for the most lit pumpkins. The official pumpkin count from Keene is publicized at 29,381, falling short of the 32,000 goal…. but, hey, the day was awesome and a success for Keene!

Can you visualize what 29,381 glowing jack-o-lanterns lining streets, curbs, grass, in trees, in store windows and thousands of festival-goers look like in a quaint New England downtown? Add live music, costumes, the aroma of hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, deep-fried pickles, cotton candy, laughter, excited children, a ferris wheel, a climbing wall, crafts, pumpkin bowling, and you’re going to have a party.

On the square at the end of Main Street was the impressive Tower of Pumpkins that reached to the sky and atop the tower sat the Pumpkin King who presided over his 29,381 pumpkin subjects and thousands of visitors. Who ever knew pumpkins could be this much fun?!

Just in time for Halloween…

….. we bring you Jack-O-Lanterns from Keene, NH. Last week the community celebrated their 21st annual Keene Pumpkin Festival with a parade, fireworks, pumpkin bowling, food, crafts, music and the famous three-story high Jack-O-Lantern Tower. Visitors from all across North America and as far away as Japan, England, and Australia swarmed to this small city of 23,000 to have some good old fashioned fun. “Don’t come to Keene without your pumpkin,” said festival official as a friendly competition is always in the works with Boston for the world record for most lit Jack-O-Lanterns in one place. Keene held the record until 2006. But the festival is more than a competition. It’s all about community involvement, fellowship and tons of fun.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!


Real talent!

Friend Nat's Jack-O-Lantern

Punk Jack or Vampire Jack?

Our son's toothy contribution...

Tower of thousands of lit Jacks end the festivities

The fall season was in full swing last week when I received these festival iPhone photos from our son in college in NH.

That was then. This is now.

Twenty-two inches of snow was dumped on the community yesterday. A festival today would have to be named ‘Frozen Pumpkin Festival.’ Timing is everything.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester