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Arts & Entertainment Franklin’s Pumpkinfest attracts record-breaking crowd

Savanna Hopkins, 3, in her Alice in Wonderland costume, takes a ride on Roxy, the miniature horse, owned by Cindy McDaniel.Organizers of Franklin’s Pumpkinfest continue to raise the bar for autumn celebrations in the region, as Saturday’s event obviously demonstrated. Community residents and visitors could not have asked for better weather for the 15th annual Pumpkinfest, and there was certainly no shortage of entertainment for people who attended. Some people, locals and visitors alike, were taken aback by the large audience that assembled in the historic downtown Franklin area last Saturday afternoon.

Franklin’s Main Street Program coordinated the event, and hosted 61 vendors, the most ever. “I think it was the best we have ever done,” said Franklin Main Street Director Linda Schlott.

“I’ve been to this thing before, but it’s a lot bigger than it used to be,” said Steven Anderson of Rockdale, Ga. Anderson won the event’s pie eating contest judged by Franklin Mayor Joe Collins. “We love it up here and this thing has definitely been fun,” he said.

Todd Key of Atlanta, Ga., provided fun entertainment as a stilt-walking cowboy who was handy with a rope.Franklin’s Main Street Program said last Saturday’s event drew more people to the downtown area than any other past event. “I do a lot of parties, celebrations, and festivals around the region, but I have really enjoyed this one,” said Todd Key of Atlanta, Ga. “You can’t beat this type of atmosphere and the people here are really nice for some reason. And the foliage is startling. It’s refreshing,” said Key, who wowed the crowd by posing as a stilt walking tree and roping cowboy.

The miniature pony ride also brought a lot of smiles to people’s faces, especially the children who got the opportunity to ride Roxy the Mini, owned by Cindy McDaniel. Further adding to the event’s heavily loaded dose of entertainment was the group “Sweet Tater Band,” who provided the audience with about an hour’s worth of Appalachian bluegrass music. Attendees also got the chance to participate in the festival’s pumpkin carving contest, as well as the kids costume contest. The latter contest was incredibly large, as kids of all ages came forward to show off their Halloween accoutrements.

The festival, as always, concluded with the renowned Pumpkin Roll contest. The Pumpkin Roll winner was sevenyear- old Ethan Farrell, who rolled his pumpkin 903 feet down Phillips Street also known as frog-town hill. Organizers provided free hayrides and treats for children during the festival as well, in what ended up being a tremendously successful day for the town of Fra nklin.

Folks from all over converged on downtown Franklin last weekend for the biggest Pumpkinfest ever.“I thought this year’s festival was great,” said Barbara Tallent, owner of Tallent’s Produce. “I try to come out every year when I’m not working and I’m thankful I made this one. I thought it was bigger and better than ever,” she said.Sweet Tater Band provided afternoon bluegrass entertainment. Photos by Betsey Gooder and Chad SimonsTony Angel interviews kids lined up for the costume contest.Dorothy Hein.Steven Anderson of Rockdale, Ga., accepts the award for the pie eating contest from judge, Mayor Joe Collins.Portrait painter David Schmitzer.











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