8 Things We Want You to Know About Keene Pumpkin Festival

With so much history and scope, here are 8 things we want to be sure everyone knows about Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene


1. Non-Profit. Keene Pumpkin Festival is run by an all-volunteer group, many of the same people who have run the festival since 2011. The event budget is a bare bones, no-frills budget, with no advertising or overhead costs. The event is managed by Let it Shine inc., a 501 c3 nonprofit organization founded 8 years ago.

2. Focused on Kids. Keene Pumpkin Festival involves about 4,200 students, most from elementary schools but also high schools and the college. Most of the volunteer power the day of the festival comes from students at Keene State College.

3. Visual Arts Event. With over 4,000 individual carvers, the pumpkin Festival may well be New Hampshire’s largest art display.

4. World-Renowned, Still. Photographs of the spectacular jack-o’-lantern displays continue to be shared around the world in traditional and social media. The popularity of Keene Pumpkin Festival endures and speaks volumes about the innovation and resilience of Keene, NH. 60,000 Facebook members say they are “interested” in this year’s event.

5. Fundraiser for Area Non-Profits. The mission of Keene Pumpkin Festival involves helping non-profits and the rekindled festival is doing just that. The 2019 festival is expected to provide seven nonprofits the option to fundraise (not including Let it Shine). In addition to four youth-oriented non-profits hosting refreshment sales, The Colonial will offer cartoon showings; the UCC Church is hosting spooky organ performances; and KHS Project Graduation will receive the  proceeds of donations for caricatures.

6. Attraction. The city estimates just under 10,000 visitors to the festival who will contribute to the vitality of downtown establishments. This number is about 1/8 of the estimated attendance in 2013, an easily manageable number.

7. Support. More than 35 area businesses and individuals contribute to the festival.

8. Nostalgia. For people sentimental about the festivals of old, the book “Pumpkin Festival 25 Years” with 269 full-color photographs is the ideal keepsake. The book continues to be sold and through author Nancy Sporborg’s generosity, proceeds go directly to Keene pumpkin festival.

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