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Worth driving out of town

Keene Pumpkin Festival

Distance: 39 miles
When: Saturday, October 17, 10AM – 9PM
Tickets: FREE

There’s something fundamentally wrong with Boston, a city of over 600,000 people, stealing Keene’s crown for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place a few years ago. But the humble city of 22,000 took it in stride, continuing to host its’ annual Pumpkin Festival while publicly de-emphasizing attempts to re-claim the title.

Not that they won’t be trying. Everyone attending is asked to bring a carved pumpkin and a votive candle. But there’s a lot more to this event than orange orbs as far as the eye can see.  For example, a kid’s costume parade that’s always a great photo opportunity, a $2.00 climbing wall for teenagers, fireworks, food and vendor stands and a great array of music, on three different stages.

A local radio station is sponsoring its own music festival in the McCue’s Billiard Hall parking lot, located near the lower end of Main Street on Emerald Street. The event, which will raise money for the Professional Firefighters of Keene Local 3265 Scholarship Fund, features Edens Lie, Bending Tunez, the Conniption Fits, Vegas Temper and Aerosmith tribute band Draw the Line.

Mark your calendar

Who: Last Kid Picked
Where: Newport Opera House
When: Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $16 (21+ only)

Daylight Saving Time ends on Halloween night. Does that mean the night of spooks and hauntings will last an extra hour? If so, the place to be is Newport, for an adults-only masquerade ball that includes a full bar and the much-beloved Last Kid Picked, a band that’s been making music in one form or another since All Hallows Eve 1996.

That first night, the band was known as the Werewolves of London, and since then October 31 has belonged to LKP, which plays a mix of classic rock and pretty much everything else. Their song list includes “Time of My Life” from Dirty Dancing, “Save a Horse Ride a Cowboy,” Bobby Brown’s “My Prerogative” and even an Eminem song or two.  How’s that for variety?

This shindig has sold out in years past, so it’s best to check soon for tickets. They Newport Opera House is unique in that it feels less like a performance hall than a party for affairs like this one, with big tables and chairs spread out across the floor. Be warned, though – patrons will move the furniture when dancing fever strikes.

Local Music Spotlight

Who: Second Wind
What: A funky Americana Sonny & Cher – “Classy, sassy, and fun, with a little fire”
Sounds like: Bonnie Raitt, Judy Collins with finesse guitar playing

Terry Ray Gould and Suzi Hastings play a lot of farmer’s markets, which makes sense. The two members of Second Wind have the same kind of intimacy with their music that local growers have with their crops. Each rendition of a well-known song is handcrafted with the same kind of care

The two were friends for a long time before deciding to enter a talent show at the Newport Opera House, where Hastings is well known for her musical theatre work. For the showcase, the pair covered Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and something clicked. That was three years ago, and they’ve been playing together ever since.

Summer is wound down, but last week they performed in Claremont’s Broad Street Park gazebo one last time, playing until it was dark. They’re obviously passionate about what they do. The only thing Terry seems to love more is warm apple pie, which explains the farmer’s market connection.

Upcoming gigs:

Thursday, Oct. 15 – Brown’s Tavern, Brownsville
Fridays through Nov. 27 – Carmella’s, Claremont
Saturday, Nov. 28 – Brown’s Tavern     Brownsville
Friday, Dec. 11 – Elixir, White River Junction
Tuesday, Dec 29. Quechee Club, Quechee

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