By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – After several years’ absence, decorated gourds returned on a cold and windy Oct. 22 when Hudson Recreation presented the 19th annual Pumpkin Fest at Morgan Bowl. New pumpkin-themed attractions were added alongside long-established activities.
Nineteen years ago, the festival began as an attempt to beat the world record of carved pumpkins set in Keene, N.H. Many jack-o-lanterns were displayed on the Morgan Bowl bleachers in the local festival’s early years, then its focus became a showcase for community nonprofit organizations.
As in recent years, over two dozen nonprofit organizations offered refreshments and family-friendly activities. Other returning festivities included live entertainment, sculpted balloons by clowns and a demonstration by the Hudson Fire Department. Modes of transportation for kids included ponies from Maple Grove Farms and trackless train rides. Windy conditions prohibited the usually popular inflatable amusements.
Among this year’s new offerings were pumpkin-carving and pumpkin pie eating contests in various age categories. Winners received gift cards to New City Microcreamery, Regal Cinemas and Tilt Studio.
Also new this year, Hudson Recreation partnered with the community organization Create Honesty to host Inspiration Station. There, festival-goers decorated a pumpkin or rock for a donation to the Hudson Community Food Pantry (HCFP).
The recreation department expressed “Happy 150th, Hudson” printed on several pumpkins. Recreation Director Steven Santos said that he hopes the revived pumpkin theme will continue to grow in the future.
The five-hour event once again concluded with a fireworks finale. This year’s festival sponsors were Avidia Bank, Hudson Appliance, Hudson Fire Local #1713, Hudson Police Association and Juniper Farms with support from the Hudson Cultural Council. A portion of the admission fee goes to HCFP.