A devil dances along the lane of Avenue A in Turners Falls. She’s joined by a witch, whose laughter breaks through the crowd in the purest delight. Through the droves of people a young princess pushes her small hands into a large pile of pumpkin guts. A tiny Jedi is lifted high into the air, his green lightsaber gleaming in stark contrast to the firey orange mouths of scowling jack-o’-lanterns.

White tents dip and rise along either side of the street and extend into the distance like mountain ranges. Crafts and trinkets line tables and dangle from the beams, perused by people. Some of the booths shine in the darkness casting silhouettes of the creatures who file past.

The smell of hot oil and fried dough wafts through the air, but a cold wind blows and brings an aroma of kettlecorn, chowder, and sausages instead. But the pumpkin fries. Oh, the pumpkin fries. Distributed by a booth unlabeled by a business or organization — just a sign advertising their wares — with steam billowing off their deep orange perfection. They taste like fried pumpkin bread sprinkled with sea salt. They’re just the specialty food you want at a pumpkin festival.

The sound really depends on your location — on either end of the main street, and somewhere in the middle, local bands play their tunes for willing listeners. Nearby, miniature clowns tap dance in neon light, and circus-folk bend their bodies and fling themselves into the air. Cold hands clutch colder brews long into the night.

— Micky Bedell, mbedell@valleyadvocate.com