Tag Archives: pumpkin carving

Keene Pumpkin Festival Will Need TECHNOLOGY To Beat Guinness Book Record Next Year. RFID & LEDs.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Last 2 Related posts:
1/ Pictures From Keene Pumpkin Festival — Oct. 21, 2012.
2/ Keene Pumpkin Festival, Keene, NH — Was A Blast,
—-Though The Record Was Missed By 1,500 Pumpkins — Oct. 21, 2012.

Keene needs automated counting & LED Tea Lights
To Break Record. Period.

Pumpkin Festival Keene, 2012, Newton's Cradle with silver pumpkins.

‘Newton’s Cradle’ with silver pumpkins at the 2012 Keene Pumpkin Festival. I registered these silver pumpkins.

Today’s Printable, barcode/RFID tags that can be read and counted remotely.

Today’s RFID printers. This one is ~$3,000. Get 10 of these and still only a $1/pumpkin when amortized across the 32,000 we will need next year … and of course, yes, the 45 cents for the label.

Lighting the candles are great fun but it is inefficient and too many get blown out and as such don’t count!

Having now participated in most aspects of the Keene Pumpkin Festival (and given my 40 years in high tech) I know what we have to do IF we are going to break Guinness Book record next year — which we appeared to have missed by about 1,500 this year.

We need to exploit TECHNOLOGY to ensure that we get a more accurate count, with an ONGOING count tally on a BIG display at all times.

How do we do that … with Radio Frequency identification (RFID) — think of it as barcode scanning at the supermarket, but at longer distances. The barcode tag emits a signal that can be remotely read.

And we need LED tea lights. I am a sucker for real candles, but you have to be pragmatic. I gather the official counters ONLY count lit lanterns and too many of the candles get blown out before the count.

So, how much is the technology going to cost?

$2 per pumpkin.

32,000 pumpkins, $64,000.

That is NOT much.

Multiple ways to raise that. Though not disclosed, I have to assume that HGTV had to pay something for the rights to record the event. That alone could cover the $64,000.

Discover Card was there. They most likely would pat half that for some advertising. I am sure that if they asked Keen Rotary they would have ponied up $10,000. My druthers is that money is not an issue based on what I saw.

We were registering pumpkins on sheets of paper. That is a joke. It should be all computerized so that there is a running tally at all times. At 5pm we should have known exactly how many pumpkins were there. RFID would provide that.

So, that is my recommendation. IF Keene really wants to beak this record, it has to invest in the technology. Yes, I will help implement it.

Keene Pumpkin Festival, Keene, NH — Was A Blast, Though The Record Was Missed By 1,500 Pumpkins.

Anura Guruge, laughing, picture November 16, 2011.

by Anura Guruge

Related posts:
1/ Pictures From Keene Pumpkin Festival — Oct. 21, 2012.
2/ Pumpkin Festival In Keene, NH, Saturday, October 20, 2012 From Noon Till 8:30 PM
Oct. 16, 2012.
3/ Keene (NH): Pumpkin Festival Saturday, October 20, 2012 From Noon —
PARKING, $15/car — Oct. 19, 2012.
5/ Keene Pumpkin Festival: HGTV ‘Pumpkin Wars’ & Another World Record Attempt
—– Oct. 19, 2012.

Click on ANY image to ENLARGE it to FULL SIZE.


It was a BLAST. I had a great time. I got to do my Granite State Ambassador (GSA) ‘meet-and-greet’ stuff and that is always fun. This time around, in the evening, I got to hand out lighters and candles to folks so that they could participate in the lightning. Being handed a lighter just lit up the faces of so many.

The food prices were exceptional — in that they were CHEAP. Cheeseburgers and burgers were $3. Hot dogs were $2. Water or soda was $1! French fries was $3. Three shrimps on a stick was $3. Compared to the exploitation at this years Highland Games in Loon, this was a pleasant respite. Well done the food vendors. They were, obviously, working on the ‘cheap gas’ model — make up for the difference in price through volume. Seemed to work. I spent $30 on food, whereas I, on principle, refused to spend a cent on food at Loon (instead eating the food we had taken with us).

Huge crowds. I don’t know the numbers but definitely more than there was at this year’s Highland Games or Sandwich Fair. Much, much, much more than came to Laconia’s Multicultural Day in September.

I am so proud of Keene. I am in awe of Keene. I have known Keene for 25 years. Keene always seemed ebullient. Yesterday, it outdid itself. Yes, having a ‘youthful’ university, Keene State, in town helps, but it was more than that. Laconia, Gilford and Wolfeboro look and feel like ghost towns compared to Keene! What gives. I am formulating a theory that the towns on the western side of our State (Hanover another example) do better because of the influence from Vt. I wish Laconia, Gilford or Wolfeboro had the gumption to do something world class like this pumpkin festival. Alton has no chance. We can’t even get our semaphore painted!

We were at the festival from 11:20 am till 7:20 pm, bar 1 hour when we went to pay a surprise visit to our favorite dog breeder, Golden Retrievers, of course, in Surry, NH. Though ‘Deb’ didn’t know we were coming she graciously invited us to come and play with her latest batch; 3 weeks old and related to our 11 year old Ulysses.

3 week old puppies at ‘Red Fox Farm’ in Surry who are related to our 11 year old Golden, Ulysses.

All the above said, yesterday’s organization was not optimal. To be fair all the necessary logistics were not in place till around 2:30 pm, though the Festival officially opened at noon. At 2pm the main merchandizing tent still was unable to SELL their T-shirts, though they had been on display for an hour, for reasons that were never apparent. Yes, I had folks coming to me and complaining. The tickets for the Ferris Wheel etc. nor the necessary signs went up, much before 2pm. It was a small Ferris wheel. Line was huge. I heard that the wait times were over an hour. Yes, I heard folks bitching. The carving station wasn’t open on time. More folks moaned. So, it wasn’t perfect. It was actually a bit of a mess, BUT people still had a good time.

I never did see the $15 parking. We parked for free twice. Yes, you can park on the streets and walk. When we got back from Surry, at 5:30, we managed to park within 1/2 mile of the Festival WITHOUT any trouble. We walked. Took about 15 minutes.

Though the collection of donations was haphazard, somebody made a LOT of money yesterday. Yes, I can see that there are some expenses. The stands for the pumpkins, publicity, entertainment, the TOWER etc. etc. Hhhmmm.

But, definitely that we enjoyed, though Deanna was beyond mad about having to walk to-and-fro waiting for the carving station to finally open.

The weather. It was TOO HOT! Wow. Folks in shorts.

Lots of amazing costumes.

It was a GREAT DAY for Keene, NH
— with or without a world record.

Keene still WON, big.