pumpkinfest

Robert Wilson/flickr

A bid to bring the pumpkin festival back to Keene prevailed Thursday night after an unexpected last minute challenge from local officials.

Keene's mayor cast a tie-breaking vote at the city council meeting to allow the event to go forward.

In the past, the festival has broken world records for the most lit jack-o-lanterns in one place. But it was canceled in 2014 after riots broke out. Now. organizers are planning a much smaller, kid-focused festival.

John Phelan/Wikimedia Commons

After giving the go-ahead earlier this summer to a scaled down Pumpkin Festival, the Keene City Council is now putting a permit on hold.

Organizers are planning for a smaller, tamer festival this year; one that would include more involvement from area school children. However, City Councilors are expressing concern that they could see a repeat of the riots that broke out in 2014.

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.

Outside/In: Go Big or Go Home

Oct 28, 2016

In this week's episode, the rise and fall of the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a quaint New England tradition that took a dark turn when riots broke out during the 2014 festival. Plus, the calmest extreme sport you'll ever witness: bird-watching. 

Sam answers a listener question about some rather nefarious crows and we travel to the most glamorous outdoor spot you've likely never noticed and discover it is teeming with microscopic life.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Officials in Laconia say they’re pleased with their first efforts at holding the New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival.

The Keene pumpkin festival may have moved to Laconia following last year’s riots, but the Monadnock region will still have a pumpkin festival this fall -- in nearby Swanzey.

Jennifer Matthews, who is organizing the new Monadnock Pumpkin Festival, said she wanted to find a way to continue the storied event after the Keene City Council decided not to host the pumpkin festival this year.

“We had two options," Matthews said, "either no festival or change the festival. And no festival didn’t sit well with me and a lot of other people.”

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

The New Hampshire city of Laconia will host this year's annual Pumpkin Festival after its long-time host city declined to issue a permit following violence near last year's event.

At the announcement in Laconia's historic train station Friday afternoon, Mayor Ed Engler said its experience hosting an annual motorcycle festival gives officials a good handle on security and public safety.

He says there are no "huge concerns" about security in the city of about 16,000.

Robert Wilson/flickr

After Keene officials rejected the license for the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival earlier this month, there’s been no shortage of other Granite State communities vying to host the event.

Laconia, Exeter, Franklin and Portsmouth are among those said to be interested.

And in Claremont, a citizens group has been meeting regularly to come up with a formal proposal.

That group is set to bring its proposal before the Claremont City Council tomorrow night.

Michael Charest heads up the Claremont Citizens Group.

Courtesy

A group in Claremont will hold a public meeting this weekend to discuss the possibility of the city hosting the Keene Pumpkin Festival.

The New Hampshire Union Leader reports the Claremont Citizens Group will meet Saturday morning at Trinity Church.

The Keene City Council voted last week to reject the permit for what would have been the 25th anniversary of the festival this October.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Now that officials in Keene have formally denied a permit for this year’s pumpkin festival, other New Hampshire communities are exploring the possibility of hosting the event.

Paul Shea with Great American Downtown of Nashua says he’s reached out to the festival organizer to explore whether the city could be a new home for the festival.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

 

A City Council committee has once again rejected a permit request this year for the Keene Pumpkin Festival, a fall tradition overshadowed by nearby violent disturbances last year.

WMUR-TV reports the nonprofit group running the festival, Let It Shine, wants the city to develop a security plan, estimated to cost more than $300,000.

The Planning, Licensing and Development Committee rejected a license Wednesday for the second time. The Keene City Council is scheduled to vote on it April 2.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

Officials in Keene have delayed action on whether to issue a permit to the organizers of the city’s annual pumpkin festival.

The Keene Sentinel reports city councilors voted Thursday night to send the issue back to the council’s planning, licenses and development committee for reconsideration.

That committee voted unanimously last week to reject issuing a permit to Let It Shine, the nonprofit group that organizes the festival.

However, Mayor Kendall Lane urged councilors to give the decision its due process and allow for more discussion on the festival’s future.

Courtesy

A decision on whether to put an end to the city of Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival could be made this week.

The city council is scheduled to decide Thursday whether to issue a permit to the nonprofit group Let It Shine, which organizes the event.

The festival was marred last by riots that occurred just outside the event’s footprint downtown. Dozens of arrests were made.

Ella Nilsen is a reporter for the Keene Sentinel. She joined NHPR’s Morning Edition producer Michael Brindley to talk about her reporting on the issue.

Selbe B via Flickr/CC

A request from the group the Let It Shine for a license to hold the 25th annual Keene Pumpkin Festival in October is coming before the City Council this week.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Keene State College will reimburse the city of Keene for police over-time incurred during last fall’s Pumpkin Fest riots.

The bill for the police response to rioters during the Pumpkin fest was $90,000 dollars. The festival’s organizers, Let It Shine Inc, has already paid $59,000, but said that it should not be responsible for the whole bill. Keene State announced Let It Shine will make another payment and then the college will cover whatever remains.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

  Let It Shine, the group that organizes the Keen Pumpkin Festival, and city officials are at an impasse as this year’s festival hangs in the balance.

After the riot that took place during last years’ pumpkin festival, Let It Shine was saddled with an unusually high bill due to the added police response needed to control the disturbance.

It has already paid about $60,000 of the $90,000 bill and is now asking the city for approval to move forward with this year’s festival.

Let It Shine, Inc.

The organizers of the Keene Pumpkin Fest have proposed a new public safety arrangement for next year’s event.

The organizers only want to be responsible for safety and security within the festival’s footprint.

In a Facebook post, Let It Shine, Inc. – the Pumpkin Festival’s non-profit organizer – said in 2015 it would like the city of Keene and Keene State College to take charge of controlling rowdy college students in neighborhoods near the event.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

This week, Keene residents will gather to discuss the future of the city’s Pumpkin Festival.

It’s been more than a month since riots marred this year’s festival, and led to dozens of arrests and thousands of dollars in damage.

After several years of issues involving college-aged adults, some believe it’s time for a change.

Jason Smart says the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival is one of his busiest days of the year.

“My store is packed, nonstop, all day long, which is, as I say it, most people say, ‘Oh, that sounds really good.’”

Melanie Plenda for NHPR

For many Keene residents, the wounds are still fresh.

"This is an emotional issue," said Jessica White, who started the Facebook Page "Keene Pumpkin Festival Move it or Lose it" and moderated a forum Thursday night focused on the events of that weekend. "We were hurt. We were embarrassed. Embarrassed is a big one."

On Oct. 18 and 19, more than 2,000 college-aged adults overwhelmed police, started street fires, threw full liquor bottles at emergency officials tending to the injured, toppled light poles and tipped cars for more than eight hours.

Keene Police Department

 

Keene police have made the first arrest as a result of asking the public for photos of the violent disturbances during a family-friendly pumpkin festival last weekend.

Police say 19-year-old Jacob Clark of Chichester threw a beer bottle at a police officer. He was charged Thursday with a felony count of reckless conduct. He was released on $500 bail and is due back in court Nov. 6.

Courtesy Kaitlyn Coogan / Keene Sentinel

Keene police say they may pursue subpoenas as they work to identify those responsible for the mayhem that occurred during last weekend’s Pumpkin Festival.

Police say the subpoenas will be used to identify account subscriber information for phone numbers and social media accounts.

Officials say social media played a significant role in the riots that occurred in Keene Saturday and into Sunday morning.

And that’s where they’re now looking for evidence.

Is Party Company 'FinnaRage' To Blame For Keene Riots?

Oct 20, 2014
FinnaRageTV.com

This weekend, Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival ended in chaos.

The main part of the festival downtown was mostly untouched. But just down the road, in a neighborhood abutting Keene State College, young people charged through the streets, hurling beer bottles at police in riot gear.

And city and state officials are laying at least some of the blame on social media, and they've named one small party-hosting company. 

So, how in the world did Keene’s annual Pumpkin Festival - a subdued, family event - turn into this…