Pumpkin festival falls far short of Jack-O-Lantern record

Lindsay Cota-Robles, left, and Tiffany Benton work to prepare about 4,000 pumpkins to be carved for Saturday's pumpkin festival on Friday Oct. 23, 2015 in Laconia, N.H. The festival was held in Keene since 1991, but last year's event turned violent, with alcohol-fueled parties nearby leading to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests. The Keene City Council rejected a permit for 2015.(AP Photo/Jim Cole)

LACONIA, N.H. (AP) — A pumpkin festival failed to scare up a world record for jack-o-lanterns.

The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia was trying to break the record of more than 30,500 lit jack-o-lanterns. It came up far short Saturday, with only 9,567 pumpkins.

The festival was previously held in Keene. That city wrested the jack-o-lantern record from Boston in 2013.

The next year, violence and scores of arrests soured the festival’s relationship with it longtime host city. The violence, which started at alcohol-fueled parties linked to Keene State College, prompted the City Council to reject the festival’s permit for 2015.

Laconia then announced plans to take over the festival. Officials said the town’s experience hosting an annual motorcycle week that attracts thousands provided confidence it could manage public safety for the pumpkin festival.

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