Highwood’s pumpkin-record bid falls short
Jason Cassidy and his 5-year-old son, Owen, light pumpkins during Saturday's Pumpkin Fest in Highwood. | Brian O'Mahoney~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 3, 2013 7:28AM
The City of Highwood didn’t beat out rival Keene, New Hampshire in the pumpkin-carving competition.
And neither town managed to set a new world record.
But the positive television exposure of HGTV’s one-hour “Pumpkin Wars” special on Halloween night was quite some consolation prize.
“Pumpkin Wars was a true battle between two great cities,” said Highwood Mayor Charlie Pecaro, whose city council will consider a resolution Wednesday, Nov. 7 to establish Keene as a Sister City.
“No matter who came out ahead in the Guinness World Records counting, what really matters is how everyone in these communities came together,” said Pecaro. “We had a blast with our friendly competition, and we never want to lose sight that the reason we host Pumpkin Fest and our other great events is for our community. Our businesses are thriving, new business are opening in town and people from all over are coming to visit our city.”
Pecaro said the HGTV special captured the city’s charm amd determination, setting the stage for Take Two next year.
Keene managed to have 29,381 pumpkins simultaneously lit for at least five minutes during the town’s Pumpkin Fest on Oct. 20, while Highwood’s official count that night came in lower, at 22,333, due to a high number of candles flickering out. The results were kept under wraps until Pumpkin Wars was broadcast Oct. 31.
Neither figure broke the current record of 30,128 set by Boston in 2006. Keene had previously won the record eight times.
Highwood set out to break two other records and captured one of this titles — for the longest line of pumpkin pies. When the baked pies were lined up rim to rim outside Bent Bakery in Highwood, the line measured 723.9 feet, far eclipsing the previous record of 530 feet.
Highwood, a town of just 5,400 people, also attempted to set a world record for the most people carving pumpkins at the same time. But planners were thrown a curveball after learning each pumpkin needed to be at least 24 pounds to be counted toward a Guinness record.
The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest of 2012 drew tens of thousands of spectators to downtown Highwood the night of Oct. 20 to watch the lighting of the jack-’o-lanterns.