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Highwood Pumpkin Festival -- They're going for two Guinness World Records

Have you ever wanted to be a part of a world record event?   As an individual contestant, part of a team, or even a spectator?

Or do you just want to get together with some friends to enjoy the beauty of fall in the Midwest?   And help support a worthy charity in the process?   Be sure to bring your camera!

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival of 2012 gained national attention as the subject of HGTV's "Pumpkin Wars."   While Highwood didn't break the World Record for the most carved & lit jack-o-lanterns due to wind issues, the residents pre-scooped over 32,000 pumpkins, built a friendly rivalry with Keene, NH & gained bragging rights to the World Record for the longest line of pumpkin pies and attempting most people carving simultaneously.

Once again, the 2013 festival will be packed with daily events, vendors galore, massive pumpkin displays, live music, nightly lightings, a parade, 5K/10K Pumpkin Runs and so much more!   They are going to try and beat the Guinness World Record for "the most people carving pumpkins at once," and the World Record for the most carved and lit jack-o-lanterns.   Record or not, it promises to be a spectacular sight.   Remember your camera!

Highwood Pumpkin Fest admission is a suggested donation of $2 per person, per day in order to cover pumpkin costs.   All additional money collected will go directly to St. Baldrick’s Foundation, an organization created to raise awareness and funding of childhood cancers.

We will rendezvous at 4:00 pm at the North Entry Gate, at the intersection of Waukegan and Webster Avenues, which also happens to be the Pick Up and Drop Off Point of the Parking Shuttle.   The north- (out-) bound Metra arrives at 3:30 and the south- (in-) bound train is at 4:31.   If you are taking the later train, let me know and we will arrange to meet you near the Metra gate to the festival.

If you're going to come later, let me know and we will work out the details for contact and connecting at the event.   (I will probably ride the Metra from Great Lakes at 10:17 or 12:17, if anyone wants to plan to meet me there and ride together.)

    Saturday, October 19
    10am-10pm – Gourmet Market vendors with artisan foods & drinks with pumpkin flare, live music, pony rides & other children’s activities, and so much more!
    1pm – Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest. Contestants arrive at 12:30pm. This is a hands-behind-your-back event so get ready to get messy! To help set up, please arrive at 12noon. North (Food Court) Stage
    2pm – Pet Costume Contest. Register at North (Food Court) Stage
    3pm-6pm – St. Baldricks Head Shaving. Register as a shavee South (Main) Stage
    6:45pm – Lighting of the Pumpkin Walls Begins Grab a taper candle (on site) and help us light up the sky. It takes many hands to light 32,000 pumpkins! Tapers at Carving Stations
    7:30pm – MAIN EVENT – 32,000 Lit Jack-o-lanterns!! Glowing walls of up to 30 feet high, line the streets of downtown Highwood – a truly magnificent sight. Lights out until 8:00pm.
    8:30pm – Fiat Pop Raffle Drawing. The winning ticket is drawn and the winner announced. South (Main) Stage.

Additional Information:
Event map:  


The Highwood Pumpkin Festival returns to Downtown Highwood October 17-19, 2013.
Thursday October 17th from 4-9 pm
Friday October 18th from 4-9
Saturday October 19th from 10am-9pm
The 5 K Pumpkin Run and Kids Dash are Sunday October 20th at 9 am.

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  • Agnes

    It was a real treat to see thousands of carved pumpkins and to participate in a fun community event! Kudos to T H for posting this event with great details...super job organizing with the groups! Fantastic food vendors...Pumpkin Bisque and Pumpkin Bread (Tap House) were delish!

    October 23, 2013

  • T H (it really is initials o.

    People from four Meetup groups converged on the festival, and although the weather foiled the record attempt again this year, a good time was had by all.

    October 21, 2013

  • Agnes

    Hi RoseAnne....Thanks for your feedback...I'm excited about the event. It will be my first time to attend this Pumpkin Festival!

    October 9, 2013

    • RoseAnne

      Just an FYI.. The wooden Nickel no longer sells food only drinks so if anyone is interested the Fun Friends Group is dining at The TAP House Grill on Green Bay Rd, which is across the street and South of the train. Might see some of you there. Have Fun!

      October 18, 2013

    • T H (it really is initials o.

      Thanks for the update, RoseAnne. You have a great time, too!

      October 18, 2013

  • T H (it really is initials o.

    As of this morning, we have at least 12 people from different Meetup groups RSVPed "YES". Looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday!

    October 15, 2013

  • RoseAnne

    This is a fun halloween event and the lit pumpkins are awesome! A bonus is that the train literally stops right at this event. Have fun!

    October 9, 2013

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