Damp and cool weather kept attendance down, but officials with the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County were nevertheless pleased with the enthusiasm they witnessed at the 36th annual PumpkinFest in downtown Franklin Saturday. 

An estimated 58,000 people attended the fall festival that was held the day before Halloween, perhaps giving it an even more seasonal feel to it. A typical attendance figure for PumpkinFest is around 75,000, but while the rainy day may have dampened the numbers, it didn’t lessen the spirits of those who attended.

“We are so proud that 58,000 people still came to our event,” Heritage Foundation CEO Bari Beasley said. “It was magnificent.”

Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic canceling last year’s PumpkinFest — as well as the Heritage Foundation’s other major events, the usual springtime Main Street Festival (held in July this year) and the upcoming Dickens of a Christmas — folks seem to still long for those events that give a sense of returning to normal.

“I heard nothing but positivity,” Beasley said. “I just was so proud of what we were able to produce knowing that last year we couldn’t even have Pumpkinfest. It was a really spectacular day.”

HF PumpkinFest 1

Bari Beasley, CEO of the Heritage Foundation of Williamson County, speaks before the ribbon cutting to begin PumpkinFest Saturday.

Special features this year included Autumn Alley presented by Geico, KidZone presented by Grace Chapel Franklin, Chili Fest and Beer Garden presented by the Downtown Franklin Rotary, Whiskey Lounge presented by Leiper’s Fork Distillery, and a special Pet and People Costume Contest. Guests experienced new activities such as a Haunted History Tour of the Old, Old Jail and Trick or Treat Trail of Downtown Franklin Association merchant members. 

The Heritage Foundation’s next major event is Dickens of a Christmas scheduled for Dec. 11-12.

“Our team is already working fast and furious on Dickens of a Christmas,” Beasley said. “It too will have some fantastic new elements.”