Keene NH

My friend Nancy, her children and I headed up to Keene, NH for the annual Pumpkin Festival. Who knew a bunch of immature, rowdy college kids would steal the limelight. We didn’t see any of it. We heard the sirens, saw lots of flashing lights and ambulances but nothing else. As we parked our car the lot attendant said they didn’t know what was going on but that they had heard there was an “incident”.


They said be careful and have a good time. So that’s what we did. I’ll save my remarks about idiot college kids for another post. It won’t be a pretty one.

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It was quite a walk from the car to the center of Keene where the pumpkins lined the Main St. Keene holds the World Record for most number of lit jack-o-lanterns on display. In 2013 the total was 30,581. Kind of mind boggling. I don’t know if they won this year but there were Jack-o- lanterns everywhere.

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Near the Ferris Wheel the was a “Dome” of pumpkins being set up.

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There were wooden shelves set up along the center of Main street where more jack-o-lanterns perched.

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They surrounded tress, made rows along  the curbs and piled against fences and jersey barriers.

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Almost anywhere you could imagine there were carved pumpkins. They were even in the trees.

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It was packed! There were quite a few Halloween Characters around who posed for pictures with the kids. One of the first ones and one of the best ones was Batman. He even had his car. He patiently stood by waving to the crowd and posed for pictures. Very nicley done Batman!

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While Alex was meeting and smoozing with the caped crusader Dawn was doing her version of pole dancing. She was more interested in the metal handrail in front of the large brick building than pumpkins or Batman.

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I had promised to go on the Ferris Wheel with Dawn but when we got to it the kids were more interested in getting a pumpkin to carve. For a $5.00 donation you got to carve a pumpkin that got counted toward the total. At our first stop where we made our donation the pumpkins were pretty soggy so we moved on to another stand only to find the same thing there.

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Along the way we marveled at the creativity of the carvers and Dawn and Alex signed a cardboard wall with their names.

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Finally down near the craft fair and food Alex and I located some semi solid pumpkins, Dawn was getting her face painted. The man helping us explained that the pumpkins are all hollowed out by volunteers before the festival starts. They begin the process 2-3 days before the big date so the pumpkins begin to go downhill in a hurry.

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The sun was setting as we put the finishing touches on our Jack-o-lanterns and began to work our way back to Main Street for the Pumpkin Tower. The pumpkins spell out words, I think of the sponsors of the event, but it’s a pretty amazing sight.

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Did they win again? I don’t know. I googled it but couldn’t find 2014. The other burning question is….Pumpkin , Fruit or Vegetable?

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(The answer is Fruit)




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Dino Land or Into the Fog!

Dusk was fast approaching. The twilight time when shadows lengthen and imagination runs wild.  dinoland 082 copy

We watched the “Great Pumpkin” wow the crowd and explored the exhibits tucked in the entry square and then it was time to take that first step.

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Once you start down that path there’s no turning back. You enter the world of the dinosaur. Sounds wash over you like a wave. Birds calling, strange growls and grunts, some distant thunder.

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Fog, misty, creepy fog clings to the trail and plants. Pumpkin displays and jack-o-lanterns line the path but you know there is more.

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You can hear them, even sense them and there looming out of the gloom is your first dinosaur.

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Jurassic Park in the northeast. A pterodactyl takes flight and a baby raptor bounces  in the bushes waving his tiny hands.

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They are all here. Allosaurus, stegosaurus, and triceratops. The Famous Tyrannosaurus Rex. More fog drifts past as the atmosphere deepens. More thunder and now there’s lightning.

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You hear the rumbling almost before you see it. The great brontosaurus, traveling in a herd, stomachs growling like a bad case of indigestion. Thunder lizards!

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Let you imagination soar. Go at dusk, not during the day. Experience the atmosphere. Imagine it. You’ve entered the land of the lost.

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It was a Five Star Night

Or a two thumbs up or any other sign approval you can think of. It was just plain fun!

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Edaville Railroad used to be a little engine that traveled around the cranberry bogs. The big deal was at Christmas when the bog was filled with holiday lights and a few rides led up to the train ride. Then a couple of years ago the owner announced he was selling out. Speculation was that a condo development was going in and the land that was home to the little railroad was needed for parking. Everyone was sad but then the real estate market crashed and now building a bunch of condos didn’t seem to be such a good idea. Suddenly an amusement park wasn’t so bad after all.

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Almost immediately Edaville began to expand. It wasn’t the little Edaville Railroad any more. It was Edaville USA and one of the things that came to pass was Dinoland. Everybody loves dinosaurs so now there were dinos roaming the bog.

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This year I noticed they had a big pumpkin spectacular called Pumpkins Aglow! I was hoping to get some nice pumpkin pictures so I planned to cough up the admission because I could use my tripod, something not allowed at Roger Williams Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular.

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I was going to go alone but after a stop at Nancy’s house we decided to take the kids along. Oh my , what a great idea! Alex and Dawn had a fantastic time!

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I expected it to be kind of tacky but it was not. It was very well done.

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The kids wore costumes and the ride operators had costumes too and were handing out candy when you road their ride.  Trick or Treat!

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The rides are included in the admission price so although it seems expensive at first, it more than makes up for the initial investment. The kids can ride all night for free. Bumper cars, Ferris wheel, tilt a whirl, carousels,  and of course the train.

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But we had to see the dinos and that’s where Pumpkins Aglow was spread out. In the end I didn’t use a tripod. We went through twice , once at dusk and once at full dark. The dusk was better. You’ll see why in my next post!

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Raining and cold

I was hoping the weatherman would be wrong but he hit the nail on the head today. Rainy and cold. I might have to break down and put the heat on. I wanted to wait until I had the furnace cleaned. Of course I’ve been procrastinating. Just too many other things grabbing my attention.


The car has really been rattling and the tires are wearing unevenly. It’s 13 years old and has 180000 miles on it. If I need a ton of work is it worth it? If I were to get a new car , what would I want? I have no clue so tomorrow its going into the shop for a thorough going over. When that’s done I should have a good idea of what I need to invest if I’m going to keep it.

It’s still raining so I went to the mall for a haircut. Over an hour wait without an appointment. Lets see what else I can do to pass the day.


A stop at the used book  shop to pick up some good reads. Then a visit to my friendly T-Mobile store for a quick education on the new wireless calling. Oh Look, a mattress store is right next door. I need a new mattress but I have no idea what kind. My old one is 20 years old and saggy and lumpy.

1 hour later…..

I have a new mattress being delivered on Wednesday. They will take the old one away. I really didn’t intend to buy a mattress today but it’s been on my mind.  I think I tried every mattress in the store from inner springs to memory foam. I ended up with a pretty traditional one, a beauty rest. It had one extra feature that I hope will really work. It has a gel core? Or something like that, that is supposed to keep you cool at night. If that works I will really like that.


Last stop , groceries. Always a challenge. I settled on a pot roast. I’ll toss it in the crock pot tomorrow morning and that will give me meals for the week.

The rain has finally stopped but its still cold. It’s supposed to be sunny tomorrow but not much warmer. I think I’ll take a look at those books. I got a couple of Brad Meltzer’s and a couple of Iris Johansen’s. That should keep me busy.

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Everybody Loves a Parade

Finally leaving the midway and rides behind we found another building we hadn’t explored.

They had a mechanical cow where you could try your hand at milking her. A stage was set up with a garden revue, animatrons that sang songs and popped up and down. Very cute.

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This was also where a chick hatchery was set up. The display held a large number of eggs which were on the verge of hatching. You could see tiny cracks form and eventually out popped a baby chick! This would have held our attention for hours if the parade hadn’t stated. Having missed out on the circus I was determined to see the parade.

The theme was Carnival like the parades in New Orleans with floats and beads.

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There were marching bands.

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And float

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after float

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after float.

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But the participant that made it all worth it for me were the Clydesdales!

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There they were in all their splendor . Manes and tails braided, feathered feet prancing high. It took my breath away! They even had their dalmatian dog with them.

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They are truly magnificent animals. The crowd’s reaction proves that they have super star status. Probably because of all the wonderful commercials Budweiser has used these animals to star in.

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Yes, seeing them up close like this made the whole trip worth it for me.

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The kids liked the beads :)


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An Agricultural Fair

The Big E has it all. The midway and rides; corn dogs, funnel cakes and The Big E cream puff. They had a huge sculpture made of butter. The Mallory building held the animals, llamas, sheep, pigs…

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The building wasn’t air conditioned but there were plenty fans in evidence keeping the animals cool.

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Sheep shearing was going on most of the day so the ewes looked pretty cool with their new “do’s”. Yup a penful of “naked” sheep.

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Nancy and the kids had a chance to get acquainted with one of the llamas. We spent a good amount of time here as both children are animal lovers.

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It was time to head back to the circus tent. This time we spotted the Budweiser exhibit but chose to skip it so we wouldn’t be late.  Turns out we could have stopped. The 4 pm show was already full. There was one more show at 7 pm but we didn’t plan to be there that late so no circus this year. :(

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Time for the mid-way. That was the really expensive stop. Those little dart games and ring toss I remembered from my childhood weren’t $.50 anymore, more like $2.00 – $5.00! The kids were pretty good at the games but it’s hard to pull them away.

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Tickets for the rides were $1.75 each and most rides took 3-5 tickets. Those were much more expensive than I remember too.

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But the kids were having fun and I chalked it up to making memories.

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The Big E

The elephant ride was in the past and we began working our way toward the big circus tent. It was loud and people were everywhere! Your senses are bombarded by noise, color, smells. Some smells were barnyard and others were mouth watering aromas as we passed food booths. It was lunchtime after all. T shirt stalls abounded and one of the buildings was crammed to the rafters with souvenirs! If you want to spend money it sure looks like we came to the right place.

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We stopped to watch an automated calliope, very ornate. The kids were fascinated.

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There was the circus tent, my goal du jour!

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But we were too late. The 12 o’clock show was full. The attendant recommended we come back at 3 pm for the 4 pm show so that was the plan. In the meantime we headed toward the food stalls for lunch.

Progress was slow as you can imagine. The kids wanted to try everything, even the giant slide.

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We were looking for the Budweiser Clydesdale Horses but didn’t see them. The kids zeroed in on the bear exhibit. That turned out to be a favorite with the kids as they visited it a second time later in the day.

It was a hot day so we were all sweaty and thirsty by this time so lunch was under an umbrella at a corn dog stand and what corn dogs they were! Foot longs or larger and giant drinks. It was a welcome break.

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We still had so much to see.


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