Pumpkin Festival 2017 brought to you by the children of SAU 29

Sunday, October 29, 2017 • 1-7pm • Central Square, Downtown Keene


Information for SAU29 families and teachers

Pumpkins for Pigs: Looks like the pumpkins are going to good homes… thank you everyone. We are now taking names for a waitlist. If you would like a share of the leftover pumpkins on Sunday night, please email us for more information Free Pumpkins for Pigs

Activities & Entertainment: Download Updated SchedulePoster 2017v2

(Subject to change)

Children’s Costume Parade/Stroll from West Street around Central Square one and one-half times. Gather in front of the Parrish Shoe Sign on West Street at 1:15pm. Disperses in front of the free kids’ games near Roxbury Street.


Fall portraits. Professional photographer Debbie Danielle is offering posed portraits, providing digital files for free to folks who get their pictures taken at the Fest.

Live Entertainment on the Bandstand throughout the festival 1-7pm. Musicians and schedule TBA.

Dance Performances in the street in front of Pedraza’s including a special appearance by NHDI with the Pumpkin Festival anthem, “This Little Light of Mine, I’m Gonna Let it Shine.”

BowlingsPumpkin Bowling returns! Managed by Nancy Hickox who ran Pumpkin Bowling from 2011-2104. Hay Bales, sugar pumpkins, real bowling pins. This is as good as it gets.

Pumpkin Games including Corn Hole and many other innovative FREE games. We are putting the “active” in activities!

The primary activity at Keene Pumpkin Festival is the spectacular display of jack-o’-lanterns, as always! But after families find their pumpkins and admire all the others, we encourage you to linger Downtown. Enjoy the fine restaurants and explore the space—a quintessential New England Downtown in autumn.

Downtown Association Trick-or-Treat. Participating Downtown establishments are hosting traditional trick-or-treat two days before Halloween! 2-3:30pm. Kids will want to come in costume to the festival, join the parade and check out beautiful Downtown Keene’s shops and restaurants hosting trick-or-treat.

Volunteer Here

Calling all pumpkin lovers! Would you like to help with the 2017 fest? Check out this VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION and consider lending a hand to bring the twinkling jack-o’-lanterns back to downtown Keene.

Important Message from Let it Shine Board of Directors

Peter Starkey, a new volunteer with Let it Shine, wrote this message which speaks for our board of directors and volunteers:

MessageUpdatedMany city councilors and leaders in our community have voiced their concerns about the Pumpkin Festival becoming overwhelming. We have shared these concerns throughout the event licensing process.

We want to keep the Keene Pumpkin Festival in OUR community so that future generations can experience the magic; and, for now we believe in a small, scaled down version of our beloved festival focused on children, smiles, and pure pumpkins.

To the vendors, crowds, out-of-town friends, distant relatives, TV crews, and visitors from afar, we LOVE that you support this festival. But no, this is not the year for you. This is a year of renewal and healing working hand-in-hand with the city, SAU29, and Keene State College to move forward. Let your pumpkin festival lights shine brightly in your homes and on your porches, in your places of work and with your friends, but especially let your light shine in your hearts. We look forward to the possibility of seeing you all in years to come.

Please join us in gratitude that there will be pumpkins, children and smiles in Downtown Keene on Sunday, October 29, 2017. Let it Shine!

Fundraising Update, September 22, 2017Candycorn9-22

Late in the evening on Wednesday, September 20, donations from Hamblet Electric, Mike Giacomo and Rachel Eschle put us over the top. Hooray! 101.39% of the stripped-down, bare-bones budget. Donations are still needed to build a prudent reserve, a small cushion for contingencies. Please consider donating or buying Nancy’s book for holiday gifts. Every sale goes right to our budget reserve. Thank you!  GIVE HERE.


Other Pumpkin Festivals to Check Out

Laconia, October 14, 2017

In 2015, Pumpkin Festival as we have known and loved it for 25 years moved north of Keene to Laconia, NH, where an unbelievably spectacular event took place on October 24.  NH Pumpkin Festival   #‎NHPumpkinFest‬ 🎃 This event continued on a very rainy OCT 22, 2016 in friendly Downtown Laconia, NH. 

Cheshire Fairgrounds, OCTOBER 21, 2017

On the same day as the 2015 Laconia festival, a new festival debuted near Keene at the Cheshire Fairgrounds, an event called the Monadnock Pumpkin Festival. Facebook. This event continued on OCT 15, 2016, at Cheshire Fair Grounds, 247 Monadnock Highway, Swanzey, NH


PumpkinFestival_LarryFratesPumpkin Festival at the junction of art, business and recreation

Laconia, August 14, 2015. Standing at the junction of art, business and recreation, key members of the Pumpkin Festival 2015 team unveiled a work of art created to support the festival.


Lakes Region Chamber Director Karmen Gifford; Pumpkin Festival event manager Ruth Sterling; Bank of NH official Mark Primeau; Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson; Paul Giblin, Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad; and Pat Kelly, WEMJ. Photo by Tiffany Benton.

“Business support of the pumpkin festival event promotes the arts and recreation in our state,” said Ruth Sterling. “Artist Lawrence Frates has used his talent to help. This is what Pumpkin Festival is all about. Everyone letting their own lights shine.”

Let it Shine, the non-profit producers of the fest, has demonstrated for four years that when a region’s schools, businesses, neighborhoods, families and individuals sit down to carve their pumpkins, one community becomes a showplace for the world.