Milford expects record crowd for 30th annual Pumpkin Fest
Tens of thousands of pumpkin peepers are expected to converge on Milford as the town celebrates its 30th annual Pumpkin Festival this Friday through Sunday.
Hours for the fest are 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
The event will take place in downtown Milford on the oval, the community house lawn, Emerson Park, South and Middle streets and at Milford Town Hall, as well as the Amato Family Performing Art Center on Mont Vernon Street, with visitors expected to come from the Souhegan Valley and Monadnock regions and the Nashua and Manchester areas, as well as folks from Boston and greater New England.
Droves of volunteers have been feverishly working to put the finishing touches on the three-day fall festival, which features more than two dozen musical acts on three stages, fun activities for the whole family and more than 100 craft and food vendors.
Signature events include the great pumpkin weigh-in, pumpkin and face painting (don’t confuse the two), a pumpkin catapult, arts and crafts, as well as scarecrow making, the Masons’ Haunted Trail, a talent show on Saturday night at the Amato Center, a magic show on Saturday at 2 p.m., and the special Halloween stamp ceremony during Friday evening’s kick-off at 5 p.m. at Emerson Park.
The first-day stamp issue celebration, a first in Milford, will feature four “spooky silhouettes” forever stamps for Halloween, featuring digital illustrations in which traditional Halloween motifs are rendered as black silhouettes in cool and eerie backlit windows. Artist Tyler Lang created the artwork and art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps.
Granite Town Festivities Committee president Wade Campbell and vice president Zoe Lantaff have been busy coordinating and finalizing every last detail and noted that all monies raised by the Granite Town Festivities committee during the Milford Pumpkin Festival are re-invested directly back into the community.
Janet Langdell, president of the Milford Rotary Club, described the event as, “so important.”
“When MIT and (the) Chamber were unable to continue managing the entire event, and GTFC stepped up, the first thing we asked is how can we help?” said Langdell, speaking of the Rotary and Lions’ organizations. “We thought that by helping them manage all the activities on the community house lawn, that would really help them out their first year. And we’re pleased again to have that opportunity. It’s been a wonderful collaboration and great fun.”
She went on to say “it really gets down to that sense of community, and collaboration and volunteerism. And hopefully, that will shine, too. Plus, we have the Citizen of the Year, and that’s happening during opening ceremonies.”
“Plus, the Rotarians, Lions Club and Masons, just to name three, have been incredible,” added Lantaff. “There are so many vendors and nonprofits participating. The Masons’ Haunted Trail, is always a crowd pleaser.”
Fletcher Hargroves, part of the “Gourd Guard,” a group of fellow Masons who sit on the oval during the festival to protect the great pumpkin arsenal, is a fixture at the annual event.
“We’ve been doing this for something like 10 or 15 years,” he said. “We guard those pumpkins, so nobody damages them. Plus, there’s the Haunted Trail. It took us four hours just to get the tarps up so they can be decorated and lighted. It’s a tradition, and it’s fun for everyone.”
Campbell and Lantaff said an event of this magnitude couldn’t happen without the support of the town staff.
“There are so many people involved,” Campbell said. “The Department of Public Works, the fire and police, plus the EMS and ambulance services and town employees are all incredibly supportive.”
Lantaff said there were so many people behind the scenes, who worked very hard on different projects.
“Kani Nicodemus, our volunteer coordinator, has been very resourceful in finding volunteers to actually help during the weekend of the pumpkin festival,” she said. “And since we have a third stage this year, we’ve had some people who have been instrumental in helping me to book musical acts. Henry More, of More Sound, he is the sound systems person, and is doing all sound at all the venues for the fest. And Katherine Schimke from Hippy Hollow Recordings has been instrumental as well.”
For those attending Friday night, officials suggest arriving there by 4 p.m., as some local roads will close at 5 p.m. Route 13 will remain open, with police directing traffic; Amherst Street also will remain open.
There will be free parking and free bus service from the Milford Middle School parking lot, beginning at 4:15 p.m. (until 9:30 p.m.), on Friday as well.
Hours for buses on Saturday are 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
There also will be handicap parking on Nashua Street.
The Milford Historical society will be offering walking tours throughout the festival.
For more info, visit milfordpumpkinfest.org.
2019 Milford Pumpkin Festival Entertainment Schedule
5-6:30 p.m.: 13 Steps
7:30-9 p.m.: Murphy Clark Band
9:30-10:30 a.m.: Spiritsong Drummers
11 a.m. to noon: Earth Mamas
12:30-2 p.m.: Crescendos Gate
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Shade Away
4-5 p.m.: Sundown
5:30-7 p.m.: Dirty Double Crossers
7:30-9 p.m.: Ballou Brothers
11 a.m. to noon: Brad Bosse
12:30-1:30 p.m.: The Kukuleles
2-3 p.m.: Slakas
COMMUNITY HOUSE LAWN
5:30-7 p.m.: Tymbletoads
7:30-9 p.m.: Father Groove
11 a.m. to noon: Amy Conley Family Fun Band
12:30-2 p.m.: Granite State Magicians
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Hunter
4-5 p.m.: Rumblefish
5:30-7 p.m.: Quincy Lord Band
7:30-9 p.m.: Slate Face
11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Rich Kumpu
& Robert Allwarden
12:45-1:10 p.m.: Riverbend Youth Co,
1:30-3 p.m.: Robyn & The Other Guys
EMERSON PARK STAGE
5 p.m.: Spooky Stamp Reveal and Ceremony
11-11:45 a.m.: Nick Zumbo
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Nick DiCicco
2-2:30 p.m.: Taylor Paradise
3-4 p.m.: Shelf Life
4:40-5 p.m.: PHILEEP
11 a.m. to noon: Vanessa Hale
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Kyle Robertson
2-3 p.m.: T Good & The Extra Friendlys
2019 Milford Pumpkin Festival Activities
Great Pumpkin Weigh-In
For the 30th year, Kokko Realty and The Kokko Family will be sponsoring and organizing the Great Pumpkin Weigh-in contest!
The Great Pumpkin Weigh-In will be at noon on Saturday at The Oval. The ginormous pumpkins will be on display throughout the festival.
Town Hall Pumpkin Lighting
Don’t miss the Pumpkin Lighting at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. You never know what magical things can happen at the Pumpkin Festival.
Beer, Wine & Spirits Tasting
On Friday and Saturday at the Pumpkin Festival, beer, wine and spirits will be available for tasting under the tent on the Community House Lawn. Hosted by the Milford Lions Club and the Rotary Club, a diverse line-up of local and regional brewers, vintners and distillers will be sharing tastes of their fabulous beverages from 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Scarecrows, Pumpkin & Face Painting
Scarecrow making, pumpkin painting and face painting are available for enjoyment! In addition, a host of local nonprofit groups will be offering fun activities for “kids” of all ages and some fine food and beverages.
Community House Lawn
Saturday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
$15 per scarecrow
$1 for one cheek, $5 full face
$5 per pumpkin
13th Annual Pumpkin Festival Talent Show
7 p.m., Saturday
At the Amato Center for
The Performing Arts
56 Mont Vernon St., Milford
Tickets: $10 per person
Join us on Oct. 12 at the Amato Center for a fabulous evening of entertainment. Twenty performers from nine area communities, plus the New Hampshire Gents from UNH are all coming together to compete for cash prizes.
Carved Pumpkin Community Lighting
7 p.m. Saturday
The Bandstand on The Oval
Carve your pumpkins at home, then bring them down to The Oval on Saturday between 8-10 a.m. or 6-7 p.m.
If needed, drop them off on Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Mary Mattingly’s shop “I Do, Again” 263 Union Square (south side of The Oval)
Each carved pumpkin will earn a discount coupon for The Haunted Trail.
Food Drive for SHARE
Together we support our community.
On Saturday and Sunday, bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Food Pantry at SHARE Outreach (Please no glass containers.)
Let’s Fill The Van.
Look for the collection vehicle on the west side of The Oval as you enter from Elm and Union St.
SHARE Outreach Inc serves residents of the Milford Amherst, Mont Vernon and Brookline.
Beware the monsters on the Haunted Trail.
In Emerson Park everyone can hear you scream.
Come to Emerson Park on Friday from 6-9 p.m. and on Oct. 12 from 5:30-9 p.m.
Tickets are $5, Children under 10 are $1.
Screams are FREE.
2nd Annual Milford DI Pumpkin
Fest Color Run
Sunday, starting from the Keyes Memorial Park, 45 Elm St. Milford.
The event is organized by and all proceeds will benefit the Milford DI program
Registration has opened for the Milford DI Color Run. New for this year will be a 1K in the park before the 5K! Don’t miss out on this great event!
Historical Walking Tour of The Oval Area
Learn about some of Milford’s history with a guided walk around The Oval area with the Milford Historical Society.
A Historical Walking Tour will start at the Carey House at 6 Union St.
Tours will take place on Saturday and Sunday. Tours start each day at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.
Hosted by Souhegan Valley Dollars
Will your pumpkin shot sink the Pumpkin Scarecrow floating in Railroad Pond? Come give it a try.
Just off The Oval at the TD Bank lower parking lot on South Street. All proceeds support local academic scholarships.
The event is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The cost is $3 for one pumpkin shot and $5 for two pumpkin shots.
FLYING GRAVITY CIRCUS
The Flying Gravity Circus will be delighting the crowds with its fun, high-energy street performances.
Performances are set for 2:30-6 p.m. on Saturday along Union Square near Pasta Loft.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday
at the Carey House, 6 Union St.
Suitable for all ages, but children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Food and animals will not be allowed in the museum. Thank you for understanding.