By Konstantine Fekos
CONNEAUT LAKE —
Children and adults swarmed the aftermath of the Giant Pumpkin Drop in Conneaut Lake Park on Saturday evening, many holding up huge chunks of smashed pumpkin and climbing on the curled-up remains of its target — a white car caved in by the 1,200-plus-pound squash.
Crowds gathered at least an hour before the pumpkin was dropped at least 100 feet by crane, according to event coordinators and members of the Conneaut Lake Area Business Association, Pumpkin Fest sponsor, who believe the high volume of attendance is a testament to the event’s ever-growing popularity.
“Mother Nature was incredibly kind to us this year,” said Judy Hughes, long-time Pumpkin Fest volunteer and coordinator, who announced the event. “I’d say it’s a good day. Busier than in years past.”
Having watched the fall festival grow and outgrow various locations throughout its 23 years of annual celebrations, Hughes said the Pumpkin Fest “certainly proved to be a boon in October to most businesses in the area.”
“Part of the reason CLABA puts this on is because it’s gorgeous here in the fall,” she said. “And it’s one last hit, if you can call it that, before the slow winter season sets in.”
Local cottage owner and Pumpkin Fest regular Paul Hohman of Sharon predicted a good day based on how difficult it was to maneuver through the high volume of traffic surrounding the park.
“(Pumpkin Fest) has grown beautifully,” he said after witnessing the pumpkin demolition. “Where better to be than here? The lake’s a home away from home.”
The 23rd annual Conneaut Lake Fall Pumpkin Fest attracted approximately 150 vendors and is expected to turn out more than 35,000 attendees by the weekend’s close, according to organizers.
Park rides and concessions are operational and entertainment is expected to continue throughout the day with three stages featuring musical acts every hour.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can go
The 23rd annual Conneaut Lake Fall Pumpkin Fest continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the second and final pumpkin drop scheduled for 4 p.m. Admission is free. Parking is $5 per vehicle. More information: Visit pumpkinfest.conneautlake.com.