Keene City Council Rejects Permit For 2015 Pumpkin Festival

Apr 3, 2015

Credit Selbe B via Flickr/CC

There will be no Pumpkin Festival in Keene this year, after the City Council voted overwhelmingly to reject a permit for the annual event after alcohol-fueled violence last year led to injuries, property damage and more than 100 arrests.

The council voted 13-1 last night not to grant the license.

Councilor Kris Roberts was one of the most vocal supporters of keeping the festival going.

"The quality of life for many people in and around Keene would be seriously degraded. If there is no Pumpkin Festival this year, there is very little likelihood of a Pumpkin Festival in the future," he said. "This is how a small town, nationally and internationally known, for its great Pumpkin Festival will be known for years to come as the city of the Pumpkin Fest riot."

Event organizer Ruth Sterling of the nonprofit group Let it Shine says officials in Nashua and Portsmouth have expressed an interest in hosting the event, but says she wants to keep it Keene. 

"This is the Keene Pumpkin Festival. We're famous for it. It's what we do. It's who we are and we need to try a little harder," he said. "They left us some open windows in there. I'm going to be keep believing in miracles."

Mayor Kendall Lane plans to form a committee to explore options a similar fall festival in Keene in future years.

Keene State College student Joseph Geis and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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