Like so many in Somersworth I love the fall. The colors, the hot chocolate and most of all the pumpkins. Who doesn’t love those little round orbs of orange which offer the possibility of fun, food and friends? So having a festival that celebrates all things pumpkin and more right here in Somersworth is something that I love and last Saturday I took the time to meander down to Main street and the plaza and enjoy the delights of fall. I say the delights of fall because the 14th annual pumpkin festival offered so much more than simply pumpkin fun.
A Community Event
The festival which is now run by the Somersworth Festival Association (SFA)was a great place to celebrate not only pumpkins but also the community of Somersworth. That’s because all of the food vendors that participate in the festival are non profits. This year they were joined by Old Rail Pizza who provided the pizza of course. (What did you think I was going to say?) This year those non profits included the Somersworth High school classes of 2016 through 20 as well as Vision 20/20 and a whole host of others. It was fun to get mac n cheese from the seniors or apple crisp from one of the other classes. I talked to a few people who were busy sampling the various fare offered and there was not one complaint among them.
Pumpkins, Pumpkins and More Pumpkins
Of course the reason most people visit a pumpkin festival is the pumpkins. The SFA purchased their pumpkins from Coppal House Farm in Lee and they knew they would need a lot of them based on previous years. This year there were around 3000 pumpkins that were the stars of the show. Those pumpkins were painted, carved, displayed and treasured by many of the younger festival goers. The pumpkin festival is a family event and a quick visit to the pumpkin carving or painting stations confirmed this. There were grandmothers and mothers, grandfathers and dad’s all busy helping the younger members of the family as they created a masterpiece or two. There was also plenty of Dads to found wandering over the display area before placing their kids creations on the platforms for the entire world to see.
Another popular feature of the festival is always the pumpkin chucking station. A small catapult had been constructed for this years event and it was decided that the bigger catapult after many years of faithful service would be retired. The main reason being that the smaller catapult appeared to have more fire power. I should explain that if you had walked down Main street in front of the plaza you might have been hit by a flying pumpkin or two that day. It was a smashing good time and judging by the smiles as pumpkin after pumpkin was launched high into the air, everyone had a good time.
Talking of smashing good times another popular pumpkin activity was the smash a pumpkin station. You were able to choose from a variety of tools to help you achieve the aim which was simply to smash your pumpkin to a pulp. I watched this young lady as she used a hammer to pulverize a pumpkin.
More Than Just Pumpkins On Offer
Here’s an amazing fact, over the course of six hours festival attendees went through 35lbs of vanilla frosting while decorating their pumpkins. Now that’s a lot of frosting! All that was left was the empty bucket at the end of the day and a lot of sugar filled kids.
The bouncy castle that had been generously donated to the SFA was busy all day long as were the hayrides that offered a different view of Main street. I took advantage of the hay rides and had a great time trotting down Main street with a people filled wagon.
Music, Fun And Kicks
There were two stage areas which were filled with music and community performers all day long. Among those who graced the stage were local favorite Bad Breath Microphone, Mr. B’s Taekwon Do and Miss NH, Caroline Carter. Miss Carter proved to be as popular as ever as she sang the perennial and much loved,” Let it Go, and was joined on stage by many a princess who wanted their chance to sing the song. I watched as a group from Mr. B’s Taekwon Do gave a sterling martial arts performance. Let’s put it this way as a group of guys set about a couple on a walk I was glad I wasn’t any of the guys.
An estimated 1,000 people attended this years Pumpkin festival and none of it would have been possible without the dedication of the volunteers of the SFA. Their work had begun the night before when tables, tents and everything in between had been loaded into trucks and transported to Main street. Most had been in the plaza since 6am that morning and it wasn’t until around 7.30pm that they left to go home and I would think they all slept well that night. Thanks to those volunteers for all their hard work and thanks to the weather for cooperating and providing a gorgeous fall day.
Scarecrows Here, There and Everywhere.
I’ll end by asking you if you’ve spotted an influx of scarecrows in the city this week? If you have you can blame the SFA as they also have a scarecrow making station as part of the festival. Straw, clothes and fabric were all applied in the making of those scarecrows and I know that station was busy all day. If you spot one hanging around the city snap and pic and add it to SomersworthNow’s facebook page as we would love to see them!