Nine-year-old Kasin Frye took home a pumpkin Saturday — well, a nice chunk of one anyway.
The Schenectady boy was one of hundreds of kids to pick up the pieces of a 400-pound pumpkin after it was dropped 40 feet from a crane Saturday at the fourth Schoharie Pumpkin Festival in the village of Schoharie.
Frye’s piece was about the size of his face.
“It was pretty amazing,” he said of the exploding pumpkin. “I’m gonna keep it.”
The festival returned for the first time since Tropical Storm Irene flooded the town of Schoharie in August 2011.
“We took a break because of the conditions of the town,” said Darlene Patterson, president of the Schoharie Promotional Association, which hosted the event. “We’ve been asked every year, ‘When is the pumpkin festival coming back?’ So this year we were able to bring it back.”
“Everything we bring back is a little bit more of getting back to normal,” she added.
She estimated that about 1,000 people attended Saturday’s event, and said she was happy with the turnout considering the number of festivals going on the same day.
“Everything that we’ve done so far has been very popular and the kids are having a ball,” Patterson said. “We want people to come to Schoharie, and events are one of the things that draw them.”
The festival featured scarecrow making, farm animals to pet, a contest to guess the weight of another giant pumpkin, cookie decorating, wagon rides to the Old Stone Fort and other activities. There were about 20 vendors of crafts, foods, clothing and more.
There was also a Schoharie Sloughter Auction of all local products, produce and even therapeutic massages.
The pumpkin drop was a new addition.
“I haven’t done it yet before, so we’re not sure what to expect exactly,” said Norman Downing of Cobleskill, who grew the pumpkin dropped by a crane.
After it fell, he was glad the pumpkin’s pieces didn’t fly beyond the municipal parking lot.Any higher and they would have, he said.
“That was superior. I loved the noise,” he said, clapping his hands once loudly.
Downing also grew the big pumpkins placed around the village for the festival Saturday. Angela Piazza’s almost-2-year-old daughter, Claire, climbed atop one and posed for a picture taken by her grandmother, Karen Gannon.
Claire, with a pumpkin painted on her cheek, then climbed down, ran to another big pumpkin and climbed on top of that for another photo op.
“It’s nice to come back to family-focused events like this for the community,” said Piazza, who grew up in Schoharie and lives in Scotia. “She’s having a great time.”