Pumpkins honored as top fruit

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CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Pumpkins squashed the opposition Thursday in the contest to become the state fruit.

The Senate voted 23-1 for the bill, which passed the House earlier and goes to the governor.

The idea came from a group of third- and fourth-graders at Wells Memorial Elementary School in Harrisville. The youngsters have been lobbying lawmakers to support the bill and were invited to watch the vote from the Senate floor.

Antrim Sen. Robert Flanders was enthusiastic about the proposal and said he enjoyed the youngsters’ testimony in committee.

“It’s the most fun I’ve had in a long, long time,” he said.

The legislation drew smiles throughout the Senate chamber. Alton Sen. Robert Boyce was the one exception.

“I think this body has much more important things to do,” he said.

His reaction may have been prompted by yet another fruit, sour grapes. Boyce wanted the strawberry as the state fruit.

Manchester Sen. Lou D’Allesandro praised the youngsters for their hard work and civic engagement. “You’re a great example to all of us,” he said.

New Hampshire has no official state fruit, though it has lots of other things, including a state bird, insect, mineral, saltwater game fish, and tree, to name a few.

Both the children and the bill’s sponsors are from the Keene area, which holds a popular annual pumpkin festival.

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