Keene Pumpkin Festival

Who knew that two states over in NH it would already be snowing?! I sure didn’t, but that’s what I came home to. I live in a rural town in the middle of the state sandwiched by a Ski resort and the Vermont border. To the south of where I live is a town called Keene, where a world recognized festival takes place every year: The Keene Pumpkin Festival. Luck was on my side this year, for not only was it perfectly placed in the middle of break, it was back for a surprise final year after it supposedly ended in 2009. Of course I gathered my friends up and carpooled to the city where we parked and walked to the center of town.

Mario jack-o’-lantern

For those of you who have never heard of it, let me describe the festival for you. This year 22,000 jack-o’-lanterns lined the streets in the center of town. Keene is an old town, so intricately designed brick buildings, old light posts and iron benches added to the atmosphere of the festival. More people than I even knew lived in NH were crowding the streets, standing around the hundreds of vendors that set up tents, and taking pictures of all the cool carvings. I, for one, was especially excited to see a pixilated Mario carved into a pumpkin. Fried dough and apple cider filled the air as my group slowly weaved our way to the big feature of Pumpkin Fest: a huge multi-story tall pyramid of hundreds of jack-o’-lanterns. The night glowed orange until the festivities ended with a bang, literally. Fireworks rose above the old steeped roofs and lit up the sky. My friends and I stood huddled together, trying to keep warm, until the end of the show, trying to take in the scale of everything.

Sitting on the Amtrak and heading back to Poughkeepsie, I’m glad I was able to spend such a unique time with my friends who were also back from college. Marist has more than I imagined going on, but sometimes home still has some stuff up its sleeve to offer also. So, here I am, excited to be going back to my new home, my new friends, and more thrilling college adventures that Marist offers. Let’s just hope the shivering cold stayed back in New Hampshire!

-Alex Berube

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