October 19, 2019 Update
Nonprofits help Pumpkin Festival serve the community
Mmmm…. Pumpkin whoopie pies. Home baked cookies. Homemade Apple Crisp. Freshly popped Popcorn. Hot coffee and hot chocolate. Four nonprofits will be offering treats to festival goers to benefit their good causes. Federated Church of Marlborough is raising funds for a summer youth theater program. Feeding Tiny Tummies is a new 501 c 3 nonprofit helping area children in need. Also serving up snacks to help their budgets are Cub Scout Pack 348 and Keene Montessori School. Every sale helps a child.
The Keene Pumpkin Festival is “a community-hosted, family-friendly celebration of fall and of what is unique about New Hampshire. It is also a celebration of artistry and creativity and a demonstration of our commitment to non-profit efforts to serve those in need.” This description is from the organization’s mission statement written in 2010 by then-board-chair Mike Haines, an English professor at Keene State College and a member of the Keene Kiwanis Club. For many years the Kiwanis had cooked up fried dough at the Pumpkin Festival, delighting festival goers and yielding thousands of dollars to support the Kiwanis mission of helping area youth.
The rekindled Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene had been thwarted in its efforts to fulfill its mission statement in 2015-2018. But approval was earned this spring when Keene city staff and elected officials granted the event license and permitted four nonprofits to offer refreshments to event attendees. Positioning the non-profit tables, working out menu details in accordance with restrictions, and tending to details like electricity for coffee urns have all been worked out. On Sunday, October 27, 2019, area nonprofits will once again be earning funds for their causes at Keene Pumpkin Festival.
Managing the nonprofit refreshment area is Jack Weststrate who came forward to help at the invitation of his neighbor Tim Zinn. “Jack has been a tremendous help overseeing this important part of the festival so we can concentrate on pumpkins,” comments Zinn, board chair of the pumpkin festival organization.
Earlier, the pumpkinfestival.org website announced, “In fulfillment of our mission to help local nonprofits, and our focus on helping area youth, we are delighted to announce a limited amount of table space for qualified nonprofits to offer refreshments to visitors of Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene.”
The slots filled with a waiting list.
The 2019 event license stipulates that no cooking can be done at the festival, although beverages may be heated in approved appliances. Through discussion and creative brainstorming, representatives of the four nonprofits identified menu items that fit within restrictions and are also delicious and welcoming. Trying not to compete with existing Central Square establishments so they too can have a successful day was a very important consideration.
On Pumpkin Festival Sunday as kids in costume seek out their masterpieces among the 3,000+ jack-o’-lanterns on Central Square, they will be able to get some popcorn without leaving the festival. And by attending and making their purchase, they will be helping other kids.
Federated Church of Marlborough Their famous pumpkin whoopie pies
Cub Scout Pack 348 Popcorn and other snacks
Feeding Tiny Tummies Apple Crisp, assorted baked treats, candy apples, fudge, PBJ sandwiches, yogurt and apples
In fulfillment of our mission to help local nonprofits, and our focus on helping area youth, we are delighted to announce a limited amount of table space for qualified nonprofits to offer refreshments to visitors of Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene.
In years past, organizations have been successful offering pumpkin-oriented refreshment items including pumpkin whoopie pies, turnovers, slices of pumpkin pie, cider, and hot chocolate. Healthy alternatives like apples and nuts are welcome. No cooking can be done at the festival, although beverages may be heated in approved appliances.
This is the first year that the newly rekindled festival has offered refreshments and we expect the need to review menu items and other details with participating organizations. The festival runs from 1-7pm and refreshment tables would need to be set up earlier and staffed and operational throughout. Although we can’t predict precise numbers of sales, a guesstimate of demand could be 200 customers or more. This amount of food product will take planning and work.
Thank you for believing in the magic of Keene Pumpkin Festival in the HeART of Downtown Keene!
Mission of Let it Shine, Inc, 501 c 3 nonprofit organization: The Pumpkin Festival is a community-hosted, family-friendly celebration of fall and of what is unique about New Hampshire. It is also a celebration of artistry and creativity and a demonstration of our commitment to non-profit efforts to serve those in need.
On the West side of Central Square in the parking spaces in front of Pour House, refreshment tables hosted by youth-oriented local nonprofits will help festival visitors grab a quick snack. The Dance Area is also on this side of the festival. Below, NHDI dancers energized the crowd with a wonderful performance in 2018.