Autumn festival

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Staff Writer

MILFORD – Joan and Paul Dargie were honored Friday night at the town’s 23rd annual Pumpkin Festival when they were named Citizens of the Year by the Milford Improvement Team and the Milford Historical Society.

Paul is a longtime School Board member serving his second year as chairman. His wife, Joan, is a founder of Consigning for Good, a local shop whose mission is to help the community and local charities. Joan also has been the Milford School District clerk for nearly nine years and has been active in Odyssey of the Mind, Destination Imagination, Milford High School Band Boosters and the middle school’s after-school program.

“Joan and Paul Dargie do what they do for all of the right reasons – to support their children, to give back to their community, and to ensure the continuing quality of education and life in general in Milford,” said Milford High School Principal Brad Craven in a statement supporting the Dargies’ nomination.

The annual three-day Pumpkin Festival had activities and demonstrations all over downtown, including the annual pumpkin weigh-in that saw veteran Goffstown pumpkin grower Jim Kuhn’s 1,121-pound pumpkin garner first prize for the largest pumpkin.

And of course there were piles of smaller pumpkins for sale to benefit downtown beautification efforts, brought here every year by Bob Kokko.

On School Street, the Fire Department gave a safety demonstration to a large crowd of parents and children, while on the banks of Railroad Pond, people lined up to try the Pumpkin Catapult, a benefit for Dollars for Scholars, sending pumpkins in the direction of a scarecrow floating in the pond.

There was also scarecrow making, pumpkin painting, fire and ambulance service activities and demonstrations, and sales of pies. There was also a waffle breakfast at the Fire Station, a 5K and 10K race at the high school, and a “Not Just An Ugly Dog” contest at Emerson Park.

Away from the crowds and the noise, David Palance led a tour of the Elm Street Cemetery, where many local historical personages are buried, including Carrie Cutter, a Civil War nurse from Milford who was the first woman to die in the war.

The weather was breezy and sunny until late afternoon, when it rained a little, but that didn’t deter people from milling around the festival and staying for the chili tasting and also the beer, wine and spirits tasting on the Community House lawn, or wandering down to the Haunted Trail at Emerson Park.

There was an unscheduled treat for people who were on the Milford Oval Saturday evening. A singing and dancing flash mob of Milford High School students dressed in white T-shirts and glittery masks suddenly appeared on the steps of Town Hall.

Celebrating its 23rd year, the festival was started in 1989 as a way to raise money to renovate the Town Hall auditorium, and now an arts and crafts show is held in the auditorium each year during the festival.

Chili contest winners

Judge’s Choice: Chris Muller, Milford, “Fire in the Hole” Chili

People’s Choice 1st place: Memphis BBQ & Blues, Chuck Hall, Milford, “Smoked Brisket Chili”

People’s Choice 2nd place: John Babb, Wilton, “Hurricane Pride Chili”

Wimpiest (by Judges & People’s Choice) Mary Burdett, Milford, “Hot Stuff”

Talent show winners

1st place - Studio Two (Stephen Murray, Al Francis, Robert Murray, Alex St. Croix ), of Milford.

2nd place - Meghan Ham, Merrimack.

3rd place - Marissa Russell, Londonderry.

Audience favorite - Victory Phillips, Milford.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 304 or

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