Organizers: Keene's Pumpkin Festival Reboot Will Be Scaled Down, Feature 'Life Lessons'

Oct 26, 2017

Credit Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Three years after the Keene Pumpkin Festival ended because of violence, organizers say this weekend's revamped event will feature far fewer jack-o'-lanterns, but many more "life lessons."

Over its more than 20-year history, the downtown festival had broken world records for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns in one place. But it was cancelled after parties near Keene State College led to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests.

The festival returns on Sunday in a scaled-back form focused on children. There will be no vendors, and no outside jack-o'-lanterns are being accepted. Instead, local schoolchildren are carving 5,000 pumpkins.

Organizer Tim Zinn says the event will be about a tenth of the size of previous festivals, but there are "100 life lessons" about second chances, healing and forgiveness.