17th annual Pumpkin Fest promises gourd-eous family friendly traditions

NORWICH – From pumpkin carving to pumpkin pie, the City of Norwich comes alive with all gourd things this weekend as organizers kick off the 17th annual Pumpkin Festival.

Each year, Pumpkin Fest attracts thousands for what’s perhaps the largest family-friendly festival in Norwich. The event has become a landmark in the city, transforming the East and West parks and the better part of the downtown commercial district into a spectacle of autumn bliss.

Started in 1999 in hopes of setting a record for most carved pumpkins in one location, the Pumpkin Festival has since shifted to being less about record setting and more about creating a vibrant community atmosphere.

While the festival has certainly seen its share of changes in recent years – namely occurring at an earlier date in hopes of attracting larger crowds and better weather – it’s back to its late October roots this year.

“The biggest thing about the festival this year is that we decided to move it back to the original date. We received a lot of feedback from people who wanted to see it return closer to Halloween,” said festival coordinator Tyler Oliver. “I think people are excited about that.”

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