A Letter to the Editor from Tim Zinn on behalf of Let it Shine, April 9, 2018
Our Let It Shine team would like to thank our community for rising to the challenge in 2017 and turning a new page for the Keene Pumpkin Festival. Thank you for your support, for volunteering, for helping to put “Kids, Smiles, and pure pumpkins” back in downtown Keene.
As we all move forward, we want to be sure everyone knows what the plan is for the 2018 Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene.
City Requirements: Protocol
The City Staff Protocol Team works closely with event hosts including Let it Shine to be 100% certain that once an event plan is finalized, there are no changes. None. The footprint of the event, the exact activities and their locations, the timing, the number of pumpkins, everything is documented and agreed upon before Let it Shine earns the Protocol team’s ok, well before an event license vote at City Council.
The event proposal for Sunday, October 28, 2018, 1-7pm, is substantially the same as last year, with a voluntary cap of under 6,000 pumpkins (5K 2017). About 3,200 pumpkins will again be offered to area students (SAU 29 students and Waldorf, St. Joe’s and Surry Mountain Charter School). We are hoping to also include elementary school students from surrounding towns as well. We would also provide a 500-count signup for home-schooled children, kids too young for school, and other pumpkin lovers willing to pre-register.
Let it Shine purchases, distributes and displays the pumpkins following the precise plan.
We couldn’t be happier or prouder of the SAU29 students and Keene State College student volunteers last year! In 2017, everyone was shining. The evidence suggests we are moving in the right direction.
One point in this year’s proposal is to explore having three or four existing downtown establishments offer outdoor refreshments, possibly in conjunction with area non-profits. For example, a restaurant on Central Square might offer snacks like sausage-on-a-stick or pumpkin whoopie pies. A portion of the proceeds might benefit area non-profits. This concept is in the exploration phase. We won’t know if this is feasible until the idea is vetted by the City staff Protocol team. We made the suggestion to benefit festival goers, downtown businesses and area non-profits.
Let your light shine
Let it Shine is actively welcoming new people to its experience and depth which includes: the founder of Keene Pumpkin Festival, Nancy Sporborg; prior event manager and World Record organizer Ruth Sterling; and, the manager of Pumpkin Bowling since 2011, Nancy Hickox. Our newest board member Jenn Course, is a teacher helping us develop educational programming. To join us, click here.
In the Heart of Downtown Keene
The Pumpkin Festival’s original goal was to bring our community together and shine a spotlight on downtown. Our supporters believe in the magic that pumpkins, fall leaves and downtown Keene provide. They like our free event that is open to anyone. They appreciate the nonprofit nature of our efforts. For these reasons, we are committed to Keene. But Let it Shine has always believed that the world benefits from pumpkin festivals, including the Monadnock Pumpkin Festival and the NH Pumpkin Festival in Laconia.
What does the future hold? Is it OK to dream of a downtown, alive and vibrant, welcoming people from all walks of life? Attracting new business and remaining economically viable? Is it OK to imagine a small local Pumpkin Festival bringing together citizens, children and college students and inspiring the world again?
We at Let It Shine are committed to seeing our community shine at its best. We believe in rekindling the Festival at a pace that supports positive changes and reflects what the greater community desires. We are keeping lines of communication open.
Please consider supporting our efforts with your time, your energy, your feedback and your donations.
2017 was an inspiring collaboration of students from kindergarteners to college seniors. Help us provide the platform for them to shine even brighter in 2018. Stay tuned for more information about the HeART of Downtown Keene and the festival’s role in arts education.
Sincerely, on behalf of Let It Shine,