S02|E02: Go Big or Go Home

In this week's episode, the rise and fall of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a quaint New England tradition that took a dark turn when riots broke out during the 2014 festival. Plus, the calmest extreme sport you'll ever witness: bird-watching.

Note: This is an hour-long broadcast version of our show made especially for the radio. This show is partially made up of stories subscribers to the podcast have already heard, or will hear, so it won't show up in your podcast feed. If you'd like to hear us on the airwaves instead of just in your earbuds, consider asking your local public radio station to air the show! We're currently offering up our seasons for FREE! And if you'd like to support the work that we do, consider supporting NHPR, the NPR member station for the great state of New Hampshire, and the entity that pays our bills. Thanks!

Click on the individual segment titles to see photos, videos, and more!

Part 1

Photo: Logan Shannon

Smashing Pumpkins

In the early '90s Keene, New Hampshire created a pumpkin festival to bring the community together, but after 24 years the quaint festival tore the town apart. 


Part 2

Photo: Jimmy Gutierrez

The Early Birder Gets the Bird

In 2013, Neil Hayward was depressed. He had just left the biotech company he helped start, and he was getting over the end of a very serious relationship. He had disposable income, and free time. Suddenly, he found himself doing a lot of birding. A LOT. Sam delves into the subculture of extreme bird-watching and discovers some serious birdness.


Part 3

Ask Sam: Assassin Crows

Whether he likes it or not, Sam has become the go-to source for all of our questions, from showing him photos of weird bugs we want him to identify, to why asparagus makes your pee smell funky, to what psi our bike tires should be. And we're not alone - everyone has questions for Sam. 

This week Sam answers a listener's question about crows. Specifically, murderous crows that she witnessed attacking a duck. Is that...normal

If you’ve got a question for our Ask Sam hotline, give us a call! We’re always looking for fun stuff about the outdoors to investigate. Leave us a voicemail at: 1-603-223-2448. Don’t forget to leave a number so we can call you back.

Part 4

10x10: Traffic Circle

Occasionally, we're going to be looking very closely at certain really cool spots. We're calling these types of segments 10x10, because--hey--we've got to draw the line somewhere. But it could be a 10x10 plot anywhere: in the woods, on a mountain, in the water, in the air. And really, it could be 10 anything by 10 anything: feet, inches, miles, FATHOMS...we're not big on making any hard and fast rules. 

If I were driving past a flat treeless traffic circle, and I said what’s that stuff growing there?  You’d say something like: "It’s called 'grass' Sam. Big whoop." 

But I’m here to blow your mind with some grass facts. Now, the human branch of the tree of life, the hominids, has seven species. But grasses have 12,000 species--there are pretty grasses, gross grasses, tall grasses golfy grasses, sea-grasses. We found grasses and a whole lot more in the Lee traffic circle.


Outside/In was produced this week by:

Sam Evans-Brown, Maureen McMurray, Taylor Quimby, Molly Donahue, Jimmy Gutierrez, Logan Shannon, and Megan Tan.

Our theme music is by Breakmaster Cylinder

If you’ve got a pressing question about crow attacks, unusual gourd shapes, or vampire nematodes, don't forget you can submit your own question on our Ask Sam hotline. Give us a call! Sam doesn't always know the answer but he's pretty good at tracking down people that do. Leave us a voicemail at: 1-603-223-2448. Don’t forget to leave a number so we can call you back.

This week’s episode includes tracks from Aaron Ximm, Podington Bear, Broke For Free, Ikimashoo Aoi and Blue Dot Sessions. Check out the Free Music Archive for more tracks from these artists.