From Yankee Chronicle:
Linda Buzzell: “I think it was entirely your idea (John) but Joyce and I thought it was great. Then we started planning accordingly.”
So in 2013 I (John) decided that we should involve more people. I made a flyer and drove up and down Route 120 and the side roads stuffing mail boxes and paper tubes. Then I contacted Plainfacts and asked if I could place an ad. That year we had about 190 Pumpkin People. Soon after, the Eagle Times did an article on the project. WCAX TV happened to be driving by and found the Pumpkin People and wanted to do a news show on us. Later on a travel blogger stumbled on us. At that point I set pen to paper and wrote the Upper Valley Life and Yankee magazines. But it was too late for that year. But I started the Facebook page for the Plainfieldpumpkinpeople. At the end I made a YouTube video to share all the hard work.
2014, I got busy early. I contacted Plainfacts and ran the ad again along with stuffing the mail boxes and paper tubes on Routes 120 to 12A and most the side roads. There was one complaint from the prior year: we need maps. So I contacted 5 local businesses (Meriden Deli, Edgewater Farms, Garfield Smokehouse, Annie’s’ Country Store and Aidron Duckworth Museum) and asked them if they would help. A date was picked during leaf peeping season and they handed out the maps, problem addressed. Also I submitted press releases to local radio stations and WMUR TV. To my surprise I got a very positive response. Then Upper Valley Life magazine contacted me and published an article. The Eagle Times ran a spread of 101 things to do in the fall and we were picked as #11. Later on they also did an article on the 2014 Pumpkin People.
It has not been what I have done, but what the town’s people have done that made it all happen. The only goal was to have fun. There are no rules, contests or even guidelines. By taking away all structure, the creativity of our residents has exploded. I have a friend who told me that just driving through Plainfield makes her smile. Goal achieved.
In 2015 15% of the households participated. With the Facebook page, we are now are being followed throughout the US, but also in the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark and Germany. We are averaging 6000 a week of viewers. We were shared by NH Magazine and Manchester Airport on Facebook. VPR did a story on the pumpkin people and this year we again had a leaf peeping/pumpkin people day. Garfield’s, Meriden Deli and Ann’s Country Store all ran specials and handed out maps. Maps were also available at Edgewater Farm Stand and Riverview Farms. We hope the fun continues for generations to come. This year I contacted all the nursing home and offered them maps so that if they wanted to bring residents out they would know what roads to check out. I also went to the Real estate offices and pitched the idea that if they had the owner put a pumpkin person in front of the house with the sales sign I would post it on my Facebook page. 6000 eyes is a lot of free advertising.”
– From an email interview with organizer John Austin
Check out Pumpkin People on Facebook!