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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Archive for New Hampshire

FUNSPOT: World’s Largest Arcade

I’ve mentioned before that we have some very loyal friends who are fans of this blog. This summer, several of them reported in with their tales of purposely seeking out BIG stuff to share with us. I couldn’t be more flattered and…well, smugly satisfied that our “Go BIG” movement is quietly taking over the world.


I'd say they're pretty excited!

This month’s guest post is submitted from my college friend Joanne, who originally hails from the “Granite State,” New Hampshire. It’s not a large state, but it IS home to the world’s largest arcade! Here’s her report:

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

While searching the internet I discovered that the world’s largest arcade, FUNSPOT, is at Weirs Beach, NH! Luckily, I didn’t have to coerce my husband and kids, ages 10 and 4, into going since everyone loves an arcade, right?

WHY did you go there, exactly?

We decided to go to Weirs Beach at Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for our summer vacation because that was the location for my 25th high school reunion. I did some advance research on fun area attractions in case it rained. Once I discovered that it was home to the world’s largest arcade I was determined to check it out for inclusion on this blog!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

My four-year old was in heaven! We never made it from the main floor although there are more activities on the second floor, including indoor mini golf! It’s usually a challenge to find a place to take both a ten year old and a four year old and have both be equally entertained.

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World’s Largest Jack O’Lantern Displays


I know I’m starting to sound like a scaredy cat. I assure you it’s mostly just a fear of heights. And spiders. And 200 TV channels all airing reality shows at the same time.

Keene Pumpkin Festival

Keene Pumpkin Festival. Photo Credit: J.W. Ocker via OddThingsIveSeen.com

Given my delicate nature, Halloween tends to not be my favorite holiday. But Jack O’Lantern festivals are just my cup of tea. They’re more about fun and artistry, and less about fright and gore.

There are two events this year vying for the world record for the most Jack O’Lanterns lit at one event.

The Keene Pumpkin Festival in NH is the largest and oldest. The world record for the number of Jack O’Lanterns lit at one event was broken here eight times, until a 2006 event in Boston topped it. Still, last year’s 29,762 pumpkins was a record for this festival, and the world record may be broken again this year! The 20th anniversary of the Keene Pumpkin Festival takes place on Main Street in Keene this Saturday, October 16.

In this corner, the challenger! The Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival in IL, is preparing to take its own shot at the world record this year. The whole community participates, creating and donating their own carved creations. They anticipate lighting 32,000 Jack O’Lanterns to take the title! This event takes place October 20-23 in Highwood, IL.

Highwood Pumpkin Festival

Highwood Pumpkin Festival. Photo Credit: Marcia Burke, City of Highwood

Full disclosure: we have not been to either of these events. But we have been to The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze in Croton-on-Hudson, NY for five years in a row. There are over 4,000 Jack O’ lanterns on display here; nothing to sneeze at! And since this event is my personal, “hometown” favorite, I’m going to give them a plug.  The level of artistry and creativity at the Blaze is notably above par. The Jack O’Lanterns cover the grounds of a 17th-century historic site; hanging from tree limbs, perched on rooftops, and incorporated in themed vignettes. You’ll see an undersea aquarium, a field of detailed Celtic knots, a den of dinos, a beehive, pirate ship, and a group of mummies with a pyramid. Amazing.

If you would like more information about these and other Jack O’Lantern festivals, I recently wrote this article for WomansDay.com about ten different events across the country.

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