Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Record, and I’m Not Talking About the 32,000 Pumpkins

Last Saturday evening, we went to the pumpkin festival of our neighboring community of Highwood. The highlight of the festival was their attempt at trying to break the record for most lit jack-o-lanterns at one time. Their goal was to carve and light 32,000.

This was the third time they have gone for the record, and the third time we have attended.

The first year, Kai enjoyed seeing so many carved pumpkins, but the crowd and hubbub quickly overwhelmed him and we did not stay long. Last year, we stayed longer, but still did not see more than a portion of all the pumpkins.

This year the festival and crowd seemed larger than ever. I tried to find a place to park several blocks away, but found that I had to drive away even further before I found a spot.

Once we were on the festival grounds, we were packed shoulder to shoulder in a huge crowd.

I tried to slowly weave our way through the crowd to find a more open spot. Kai clutched onto me with one hand, and to my wife with the other. But he was not upset.

We made our way back to a portion of the festival we had never been to before. We found out that the town had set up high scaffolds holding many rows of pumpkins that lined the downtown streets for a few blocks. We also saw that there were too many pumpkins to fit on the shelves, so there many placed on the ground at the base of the scaffolds.

Though we arrived after the time the jack-o-lanterns were to be lit, none were. But as we walked around, we heard the announcement for the lighting to begin.

Festival staff lit candles and climbed the scaffolds to light the pumpkins that were on display up high. Other staff handed out small candles for everyone to place inside the carved pumpkins, and longer candles for anyone who wanted to help light them.

My wife took a candle and joined in with the lighting. Kai enjoyed watching her.

My wife and I were getting a bit tired of bending over and lighting the pumpkins, and of the crowd of people. But Kai did not want to leave until all the pumpkins had been lit.

And when they were, it was quite a sight!

I never heard whether the town broke the record they were seeking. After all, how do you count all those pumpkins? But, I do know that our son broke the record for tolerance in a huge throng of people. And more than seeing 32,000 pumpkins, that was the highlight of the evening for me.


  1. Nooooo! You guys are our competition! and clearly you won! So cool to see the flip side of pumpkin fest someplace else!

    1. Molly, I think they are still going through photos and videos to try to verify how many pumpkins were actually lit. You should check out the special that HGTV is doing on the pumpkin wars that will air next week...

    2. Betsy, it is quite a competition! :)

  2. That must have been quite a sight. Kai will long remember that night. Just think of all that carving!

    1. Shiroi, they tried to get everyone carving for weeks ahead of time. They even had a competition among schools to see which one could provide the most pumpkins.

  3. Wow...I've never seen such a thing! I'm so glad Kai loved it...he's just grown leaps and bounds in the past year!

    1. Betsy, my picture only captured a fraction of all the pumpkins. Imagine seeing blocks of those all lined up.

      Yes, Kai has really made huge progress in the past year!


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