Keene Pumpkin Festival’s Tim Zinn Speaks His Mind

Tim Zinn, right, helped author Nancy Sporborg (left) sell her book at pumpkin festivals and fall fairs last year. The experience left him determined to rekindle the flame of Keene Pumpkin Festival. (Photo by R. Sterling)

Tim Zinn, right, helped author Nancy Sporborg (left) sell her book at pumpkin festivals and fall fairs last year. The experience left him determined to rekindle the flame of Keene Pumpkin Festival. (Photo by R. Sterling)

Tim Zinn, the Let it Shine Board Member determined to rekindle Keene Pumpkin Festival in a small, manageable way in 2017, wrote these letters updating our local media.

September 22, 2017

Our team is very excited to be back on track with the very special messages behind this effort.

It is important to us that media helps get the word out that this Festival is all about local this year. We love the pumpkin faithful from beyond our region, but this Festival is about healing, second chances, life lessons, celebrating 3200 heroes in our local school system and giving the City, Let It Shine, and Keene State College the opportunity to shine together once again. This is literally 1/10 the size of the signature events, we designed it that way on purpose to provide the chance for a win for all. There are no vendors, and we have voluntarily capped ourselves at 5,000 pumpkins (currently 3200 and counting) and we have moved the event to a Sunday for additional advantages.

Safety is everyone’s primary concern, including ours. We have been, and continue to work with the City of Keene and City staff to cover all the bases and provide a safe and enjoyable event. Keene State College has made significant progress in culture change and off-campus student accountability. They will be implementing  a zero tolerance policy leading up to and after our event. They are ratcheting up the off-campus conduct policy to provide stiffer repercussions for misbehavior. In addition to that, we are encouraged that many students see this as an opportunity to live their school motto “Wisdom to make a difference.” We think they have the capacity and motivation to shine as bright or brighter than anyone at this festival.

We met our bare-bones budget with just over $26,000 raised to date. A large portion of that has been provided by Nancy Sporborg and the success of her book sales of “Pumpkin Festival 25 yrs.” Nancy funded the book with her own personal funds and has pledged proceeds after expenses to help us fund this festival, just over $6200 to date and counting. While we have met expected costs, we continue to fundraise in order to create a prudent buffer against any possible unexpected costs. Let It Shine is a nonprofit organization and balancing income against expenses is always a challenge for nonprofits. For those interested in the book and how to make a donation, please click here.

We have a great little team of hardworking volunteers that believe our Donors, City, College, Let It Shine, and school system, are going to all be proud of what we will accomplish together. “Kids, smiles, and pure pumpkins” has been our theme. The subtle messages built into this festival, will shine as bright as the pumpkins!

Sincerely, Tim Zinn


August 25, 2017

Dear Keene and Surrounding Communities,

It has been a long and unpredictable journey, but we are at the edge of doing something very special. Keene Pumpkin Festival brought to you by the children of SAU29 is at the point of becoming a reality.

It starts with “Kids, Smiles, and Pure Pumpkins!” It fills Central Square with pumpkins and kid centered fun activities. It creates superheroes out of our local school children and school system. Thank you to each of them for seeing the vision and potential in this event.

This festival is a compromise to all sides in order to re start the conversations, dust ourselves off and move forward. Our team of volunteers has worked very hard to present a win for all concerned.

Why is this so important to Keene and surrounding communities?

  • It gives the chance for our local children (all are welcome at the event) to feel the magic once again of pumpkins in downtown Keene.
  • It shows that as a community we can work through challenges and come out the other side all the better for it.
  • It sends messages of healing, forgiveness, accountability, persistence, teamwork, and communication.
  • It challenges KSC students with the opportunity to show off their improvements in culture change and their beautiful message of “Wisdom to make a difference”. This festival offers a bridge to unite students and the community in shared effort once again.
  • It shows our kids that bullies don’t get the last word in Keene, NH.
  • While we are voluntarily limiting the display of carved pumpkins to just those from SAU29 (3-4K), you can support our message by displaying your own pumpkins on your property. Paint your yards with pumpkins!
  • It celebrates the thousands of selfless volunteers that have given so much to the festival over its long history.

Our Babe Ruth team showed us that anything is possible! Don’t let this second chance slip through our fingers, rally your family, friends, employers, and coworkers to make a donation, or sponsor a classroom full of pumpkins! Go to the Keene Pumpkin Fest Facebook page or to learn more about helping fund this event. Time is of the essence. We are on the five yard line; we need everyone’s help to make this happen!

Tim Zinn

Let It Shine Board Member

43 Grove St. Keene, NH

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