Downtown Franklin was packed from street corner to street corner last Saturday for the 16th annual PumpkinFest. Like every year, Franklin residents and visitors from as far south as Jacksonville, Florida lined Frogtown for the famous Pumpkin Roll. Each person with their own unique strategy, twoby- two, more than 600 people signed up to roll a pumpkin down the hill, which is more entries than ever before. Angie Stewart from Mass. won first place and the $100 cash price in this year's event, rolling her pumpkin an impressive 869 feet.
The annual festival had other yearly favorites likes the pie eating contest, which proved to be the messiest event of the day. Children and adults put their hands behind their back and gobbled up pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream. Finishing with whipped cream in their noses, and pumpkin pie up to their ears, Mayor Joe Collins evaluated the pies and crowned the winners. Seven year old Aidan beat out kids twice his size to win the $25 cash prize for the children's age division. For the adults, Russell Bowman nearly finished his entire pie winning first place... and his reward? A pie to the face from Mayor Collins.
Vendors lined Main Street with homemade goods like holiday decorated gourds, and stringed instruments made with a recycled aluminum can, some wood and string. The merchants downtown had holiday flavored goodies, like pumpkin flavored cupcakes from Rosebud Cottage, or delicious coffee from Main Street Coffee and Tea. Live entertainment was spread throughout the festival such as performances from Chaz the Magician and music from Macon Grass, Sweet Tater Band and Five O'clock Shadows. The Nikwasi Dulcimer Players were also on hand to give festival-goers a taste of traditional mountain music.
A crowd favorite year after year is the costume parade which is followed up by the annual costume contest, which according to emcee Tony Angel, had more entries this year than ever before. From an adorable red-headed kitten with a “free kitten sign” to a walking tree to a vampire hunter and her prey, the costumes this year were creative and entertaining.
New to this year's PumpkinFest was the screaming contest sponsored by DNET. Kids and adults of all ages lined up to take the stage to belt out their best fright night screams for a chance to win a free t-shirt. A unique addition to the festival, the screaming contest proved to be a great way for the young and old to release a little steam.