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After Hiatus, Group Proposes Scaled-Down Version Of Keene Pumpkin Festival

Robert Wilson/flickr

  After a two-year hiatus, organizers of the Keene Pumpkin Festival are hoping to bring a revised version of the event back to the city.

Organizers have filed a request with Keene officials to hold a festival in October that would be smaller in scale than what the city hosted in the past.

At its peak, the Keene Pumpkin Festival drew tens of thousands of people to the city, setting world records for the most lit jack o'lanterns in one place.

The city council denied a request to hold the event in 2015, a year after riots erupted near Keene State College, outside the festival's footprint.

Let It Shine, the organization that runs the festival, says the new version would be limited to about 5,000 pumpkins submitted by local students.

“While this proposed event is much smaller in scale, we are convinced that the message this pumpkin festival provides might be one of its most profound,” wrote Tim Zinn with Let It Shine in a letter to the city.

“The event will be focused on the children of SAU 29, their unique wisdom and perspective, and the simple joy of carving pumpkins. By voluntarily limiting the size of this festival to the school system, we think this event provides many opportunities for healing, collaboration, and celebration.”

In the letter, Zinn says the event would be limited to Central Square and Railroad Square. It would not require shutting down any streets and vendors would not be invited.

“We are encouraged by the many improvements in off campus college student accountability and a continued effort at culture change among Keene State College students,” Zinn wrote.

The city's planning and licenses committee could take up the request later this month.

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