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