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Highwood fest goes for pumpkin hat-trick

The GreHighwood PumpkFest will be held Oct. 18-20 with rain
date Oct. 21 downtown.

The Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest will be held Oct. 18-20 with a rain date on Oct. 21 in downtown.

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Updated: November 14, 2012 6:03AM

HIGHWOOD — The third annual Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest will be held Oct. 18 and 19 from 3 to 9 p.m., and Oct. 20 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

After breaking the world record in 2011 for lighting 30,919 pumpkins throughout the city at once, the Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest will host two more record-breaking events in next week, going for a hat-trick.

In addition to the most pumpkins carved and lighted at one time, the Highwood will also attempt to go for the most people carving simultaneously, and the longest line of (pumpkin) pies.

This year, the fest will be the subject of a new show on HGTV entitled “Pumpkin Wars,” debuting Oct. 31 at 7 p.m.

Highwood will be the focus of the one-hour HGTV special. “Property Brothers” star Jonathan Scott will come to Highwood to film, participate and report on the great family-friendly festival, while his brother, Drew Scott, will be in Keene, N.H., at their Pumpkin Festival.

Pumpkin Fest attracts more than 60,000 people from across the country. The festival offers free admittance with pumpkin carving galore, live music, artisan foods with pumpkin flare, a zip line, children’s activities such as pony rides, trick-or-treating, and more. Walls of jack-o’-lanterns, up to 30 feet high, line the streets of downtown. The fun family festivities offer plenty of opportunities for people to come together, carve pumpkins and place them on one of the Great Pumpkin Walls for display, and then take them back home after the record breaking attempt on Saturday, October 20th is completed.

The schedule for the three-day festival is as follows:

Oct. 18 at 3 p.m., the outdoor bocce court will transform into Totem Pole Park, with pumpkin totem poles being created and judging at 7:45 p.m. At 6:30 p.m. there will be the Guinness world-record attempt for the longest line of pumpkin pies; at 7 p.m. there will be the pumpkin pie-eating contest in front of Bent Fork Bakery on Waukegan Avenue.

Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. will be the Guinness world-record attempt for the most people carving pumpkins simultaneously. The record-breaking feat begins at 6 p.m. with $10 all-you-can-carve pre-gutted pumpkins, At 8 p.m., the “Light Up The Night” Pumpkin Parade will begin with a New Orleans feel.

Oct. 20 at 9 a.m. will be the 5K/10K Pumpkin Run and Kid’s Dash beginning at Sheridan Road and Walker Avenue, and benefiting the Leukemia Research Foundation. Registration goes until 8:45 a.m. At noon will be the Giant Pumpkin Land Regatta, which will race south down Sheridan Road, starting at the Fort Sheridan North Gate with a $25 fee to enter. At 4 p.m. will be the pet costume contest with a $10 fee to enter. At 6:30 p.m. will be the Grand Lighting of the Pumpkin Walls.

To be included in the world carving attempt, anyone over six years of age must have a wristband in order to carve. Wristbands are $20, and are good for carving throughout all three days of the festival. If attendees would like to purchase carving wristbands just for the day-of, adults over the age of 12 can carve for $10, kids aged 6-11 can carve for $5, and kids under the age of 6 are free with an adult with a wristband. The fee includes a Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest carving knife and certificate.

Oct. 21 is the rain date. For more information, call (847) 432-6000 or visit

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