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

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.


Plans for 2017

August 3, 2017

Tonight the Keene City Council said YES to “Keene Pumpkin Festival brought to you by the children of SAU29.” Let it Shine has the city staff and councilors endorsement to bring kids, smiles and pumpkins back to Central Square on Sunday, October 29, 2017. A compelling letter from Keene State College’s interim president Dr. Melinda Treadwell supporting the festival was read aloud by Councilor Bart Sapeta.

Tim Zinn, the Let it Shine board member spearheading the 2017 festival effort, has said publicly that the message this festival carries is bigger than the scale of the festival. Tim believes this event will demonstrate for school children, our community and beyond, important “life lessons in accountability, persistence, teamwork and communication.”

More information about the children’s costume parade and other Keene Pumpkin Festival traditions coming soon!

The Let it Shine board says “Thank you” to the city council and city staff for entrusting us with this honor.


Proposal: On behalf of Let It Shine, I would like to present our proposal for Sunday, October 29 th of 2017 for an event we are proud to call:

“Keene Pumpkin Festival brought to you by the children of SAU29.”

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. This event will be focused on the children of SAU29, 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. Indeed, some Councilors suggested in 2015 that LIS consider this very approach.

Our estimated number of pumpkins totals around 5,000 and require a footprint limited to only Central Square. We would like to open this event to the public between the hours of 12:00 pm and 08:00 pm (note: changed to 1-7pm).

We have opted to not include vendors in this year’s event in order to keep the theme focused on children, smiles, and “pure pumpkins.”

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. We are convinced that many students will see this as an opportunity to live “Wisdom to make a difference.”

We look forward to communicating our vision for this Festival and the unique opportunity to work together in a spirit of collaboration as an example to our community and beyond.

Tim Zinn, 43 Grove Street, Keene, NH 03431

A big treat for everyone who ever loved Keene Pumpkin Festival!

Limited Edition Pumpkin Festival Picture Book Available this Fall 

Buy Now

Pumpkin Festival – 25 Years, a photographic journey through 25 years of the Pumpkin Festival, is available starting September 1 for $35. The hard cover, limited edition book features 215 pages loaded with 269 photographs, plus stories and perspectives from Nancy Sporborg, the Festival founder. Available for pre-purchase online Buy Now, the book will be sold in downtown Keene while supplies last at Creative Encounters, Hannah Grimes, In the Company of FLOWERS, Kristin’s Bistro & Bakery, Ted’s Shoe & Sport and Toadstool Bookshop. Proceeds go to fund Pumpkin Festivals. There are 1,500 copies available.

Sporborg recognizes Festival volunteers and the people of the Monadnock Region for making the festival their own, crediting the community for the event’s success. The book is dedicated to “every person who carved a jack-o’-lantern and brought it to the Pumpkin Festival.”

Organized by category, the book includes chapters with pictures of the pumpkins, towers, people and children. The photographs were taken by over 20 photographers, the largest contributions coming from Al Braden of Austin, TX, formerly of Keene, and Mickey Pullen of Mount Juliet, TN. Local photographers featured include: James Sequenzia, Ruth Sterling, Steve Hooper, Shaundi Kane, Michael Moore, Maureen Bieniarz-Pond, Timothy Zinn, Robert Clifford, Bonnieta Kraft, Pauline Dionne, Lance Miller, Stillman Rogers, Paul Bostwick and Aaron Lipsky. Any pictures that are not specifically credited were taken by Center Stage or Let It Shine team members or community friends.

The stories in the book are told from Sporborg’s perspective and cover the event’s inception in 1991, through to its downfall in 2014, to the Laconia Pumpkin Festival in the fall of 2015.

Pumpkin Festivals interested in sharing in the book proceeds can write to Sporborg at nancy@ne.rr.com sharing the obstacles they are trying to overcome and how they would use the funds to help them thrive.

More     Buy Now

Other Pumpkin Festivals to Check Out

13709862_1833435636875222_7266230985049151500_nLaconia, 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. 

Images of Pumpkin Festival 2015 in Laconia by photographer Robert Clifford


11701189_475328375974443_1430810688092175249_nCheshire 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. FacebookThis 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.