Something Pumpkin this way rolls ...

By Michael Beadle

Carve ‘em. Cook ‘em. Turn ‘em into glowing faces. There’s plenty you can do with this year’s bounty of pumpkins.

At this weekend’s 11th Annual PumpkinFest in downtown Franklin, one of the most popular events will be the Pumpkin Roll, where participants pay a dollar to roll their pumpkins down the steep decline of Phillips Street. By the end of the day, the bottom of the hill bears the wreckage of orange splats, but for the lucky one whose pumpkin rolls the farthest without bursting, there’s a $100 prize waiting.

“Kids love it, and grown-ups do too,” said Linda Schlott, Franklin Main Street program coordinator and one of the main organizers for this year’s PumpkinFest.

The two-day affair starts on Friday, Oct. 26, at the East Franklin Shopping Center on Highlands Road with old-fashioned hayrides from 3 to 6 p.m. and stores offering treats for children from 3 to 5 p.m. Then from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27, downtown Franklin’s Main Street and Stuart Street come alive with arts and crafts, live music, a costume parade and contest, children’s games, food vendors, and contests for pumpkin decorating and cooking.

“We have a full schedule,” said Schlott.

On Saturday, musicians and performers will be on two stages — the Gazebo just off East Main Street and on Stuart Street —with emcees Tony Angel and Claire Suminski hosting. Entertainment will include the Carolines and Prime Timers choral groups, The Remnants, the Nikwasi Dulcimer Players, Sweet Tater Band, Franklin Consort, Cooking with Quanta, and Out of the Blue. David Landis will be playing bagpipes and leading the costume parade, which starts at noon on Saturday. Children’s arts and crafts will also be offered on Stuart Street from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We have really bumped up the children’s activities this year,” said Schlott.

Also a big part of the festivities will be the wide variety of costumes for all ages.

“We have grown-ups dressed in costumes; we have animals dressed in costumes,” Schlott said. “We had some of the cutest dogs last year.”

As for food, festival-goers will be able to sample everything from funnel cakes and barbecue to Cherokee fry bread and home-cooked desserts.

This will be the first year that pumpkins will be for sale downtown during the festival. Sign-ups for the Pumpkin Roll will be from 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the rolling will run from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The events are sponsored by the Town of Franklin, Franklin’s Main Street Program and the Franklin Tourism Development Committee. For more information, call Linda Schlott at 828.421.7613.

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