The little town of Highwood is not afraid to compete with the big boys or at least the big jack-o’- lanterns when they line-up 52,000 pumpkins at this weekend’s Great Highwood Pumpkin Fest to challenge the Guinness World Record of 30,581 for most jack-o’-lanterns carved and lit at the same time.
Ghosts, goblins and just regular people have been busy for the past couple of weeks setting the stage for this weekend’s blow-out–or better yet stay lit pumpkin extravaganza.
This is year six for Highwood’s Great Pumpkin Fest and odds are looking good this just may be the year they break the record. The weather looks to be warm, dry and not too windy–the perfect setup for keeping the pumpkins lit just long enough to break the record.
The jack o’ lanterns will be placed on scaffolds lining the streets of downtown Highwood.
But there’s more. Lot’s more.
There’s onsite pumpkin carving; the Great Pumpkin Maze; Trick or Treating; a Pet Costume Contest; Kids Costume Contests; the Pumpkin Parade; Pumpkin Pie Eating Contests; hay rides; pony rides; a petting zoo; carnival rides, kids crafts, two stages jam packed with entertainment; seasonal food and beverages and a 5K Pumpkin Run, Walk & Kids’ Dash.
As always, all lit jack-o-lanterns will be placed on pumpkin walls throughout the Festival grounds, with a ceremonial wall lightings set to music Friday and Saturday nights, and the grand lighting on Sunday evening. Which should look something like this:
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS…
October 7-8 PRELUDE TO THE FESTIVAL
Come out and carve pumpkins in front of City Hall (17 Highwood Ave.), 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
Friday, October 9:
- The big event kicks off at 4 p.m. with rides, vendors, activities, all-you-can-carve pumpkin stations and more.
- 4-6 p. Trick or treating.
- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m.- Light shows on the wall presented by Brian Larsen of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”
- 10 p.m.- Close
Saturday, October 10:
- 9 a.m.- 5K Pumpkin Run, Walk and Kids’ Dash to benefit Autism Society of IL
- 11 a.m. Festival opens.
- 11:45 a.m. Tito’s Vodka College Game Day Tailgate area opens
- 12 p.m. Meet & Greet with HGTV Cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri followed by HGTV Magazine interactive demo featuring five ingredient centerpieces
- 2 p.m. Fastest Carver Competition (North Stage)
- 3 p.m. HGTV Magazine interactive demo- Fall around the house followed by Meet & Greet with HGTV Cousins Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri
- 4 p.m. Pumpkin Pie eating contest (North Stage)
- 5 p.m. HGTV Magazine interactive demo- That’s a Wrap
- 6:30, 7:30 and 8:45 p.m. Light shows on the wall presented by Brian Larsen of ABC’s “The Great Christmas Light Fight”
- 10 p.m. Close
Sunday, October 11:
- 11 a.m. Festival opens
- 11:45 a.m. Tito’s Vodka Football Sunday Tailgate area opens
- 12 p.m. Pumpkin Parade
- 1 p.m. Pet Costume Contest
- 2 p.m. Kids’ Costume Contest
- 3 p.m. Adult Costume Contest
- 5:30 p.m. Record Attempt: Official Lighting ceremony begins
- 9 p.m. -Festival Closes
Once again, this years’ Autism-friendly event will have a sensory quiet area located at the City Hall, 17 Highwood Ave.
As always, the streets heading to Highwood will be lined with cars and parking will be at a premium. If at all possible try to take the Metra north line that stops right in the middle of the action in downtown Highwood.
If you must drive…
From Chicago – Take Rte 41 North to Old Elm Road. Go east on Old Elm to Sheridan/Waukegan Rd. Mobil Station will be on the corner. Take a right to head south towards the Festival Grounds. Follow signs for parking.
From I94 – Take Half Day Road east towards Highwood & Highland Park to Rte 41. Go one exit north on Rte 41 to Old Elm Road. Go east on Old Elm to Sheridan/Waukegan Rd. Mobil Station will be on the corner. Take a right to head south towards the Festival Grounds. Follow signs for parking.
For more information about the fest, click here.
For more Halloween events, click here.
For more Fall events, click here.
“Another Pumpkin on the Wall” fundraising program for The Autism Society of Illinois, in which each section purchased represents 40 pumpkins for donor carving. Families and companies are encouraged to purchase these sections by texting “wall” to 91999 to watch them lit to music! Each brick will be labeled with signage, for easy recognition as they are lit.
Attendees can “Adopt a Pumpkin” by texting “pumpkin” to 71777 to donate to The Autism Society of Illinois.
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