It is less than three months until Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene on Sunday, October 28, 2018 1-7pm! Eighty days to be exact! While the pumpkins continue to plump up in farmers’ fields, organizers are pulling together the 2018 version of the world-renowned celebration of pumpkins in Downtown Keene. Condensed to the city’s Central Square area with its quintessential New England bandstand and exquisite church at the head of the square, the festival scale harkens back to 1993, the second year Keene won a Guinness World Record for the largest number of lighted jack-o’-lanterns in one place at one time.
Dozens of area businesses pitch in to sponsor the festival, including the Price Chopper, Courtyard Marriott on Railroad Street and the Best Western Plus on Winchester Street in Keene.
The stars of the day are the jack-o’-lanterns, carved by school children, teachers, parents and professional artists and displayed on Central Square in a magnificent public art show. At dusk, the jacks will be lit by event attendees—all are invited to bring a taper candle and help light the pumpkins. Keene, NH, is famous for its pumpkins and 2018 continues the tradition with a cap of 5,000 jack-o’-lanterns on display.
Participating schools in the Keene area receive free pumpkins the week before the festival. For some children, this is their first chance to carve a pumpkin. Teachers work with students to plan their designs, carving strategy and materials. Many pumpkins are carved at family “carving parties” where kids, parents and even grandparents carve together. The festival organization, Let it Shine Inc., has emphasized the artistic expression opportunities of Keene Pumpkin Festival and the unique opportunity to showcase students’ work for an entire community’s enjoyment.
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.
Pumpkin Games including Corn Hole and many other innovative FREE games put the “active” in activities!
Face Painting is a Pumpkin Festival tradition and adds to the costumes and masquerading.
Live Entertainment on the Bandstand throughout the festival 1-7pm. Musicians and schedule TBA.
Pumpkin Bowling: In streets filled with traffic every other day of the year, you’ll find hay bales, sugar pumpkins, real bowling pins, and the fun of throwing a pumpkin and trying for a strike. Free prizes.