Pumpkin Festival 2017 brought to you by the children of SAU 29

This morning, this letter was submitted to Keene City Hall for consideration by the Keene City Council. It is expected to be referred on Thursday by the Mayor to the PLD committee of the council which meets on WED, April 12. Depending on that committee’s recommendation, the matter could be voted on by the full council on Thursday, April 20. Residents are encouraged to call their ward councilors to express your thoughts.

April 3, 2017

Honorable Mayor and City Council,

On behalf of Let It Shine, I would like to present our proposal for Sunday, October 29 th of 2017

for an event we are proud to call:

“Keene Pumpkin Festival brought to you by the children of SAU29.”

While this proposed event is much smaller in scale, we are convinced that the message this

pumpkin festival provides might be one of its most profound. This event will be focused on the

children of SAU29, their unique wisdom and perspective, and the simple joy of carving


By voluntarily limiting the size of this Festival to the school system, we think this event provides

many opportunities for healing, collaboration, and celebration. Indeed, some Councilors

suggested in 2015 that LIS consider this very approach.

Our estimated number of pumpkins totals around 5,000 and require a footprint limited to only

Central Square and Railroad Square. We would like to open this event to the public between the

hours of 12:00 pm and 08:00 pm. We do not anticipate the need for shutting down any streets.

We have opted to not include vendors in this year’s event in order to keep the theme focused on

children, smiles, and “pure pumpkins.”

We are encouraged by the many improvements in Off Campus College student accountability

and a continued effort at culture change among Keene State College students. We are

convinced that many students will see this as an opportunity to live “Wisdom to make a


We look forward to communicating our vision for this Festival and the unique opportunity to work

together in a spirit of collaboration as an example to our community and beyond.


Tim Zinn

43 Grove Street

Keene, NH 03431

A big treat for everyone who ever loved Keene Pumpkin Festival!

Limited Edition Pumpkin Festival Picture Book Available this Fall 

Buy Now

Pumpkin Festival – 25 Years, a photographic journey through 25 years of the Pumpkin Festival, is available starting September 1 for $35. The hard cover, limited edition book features 215 pages loaded with 269 photographs, plus stories and perspectives from Nancy Sporborg, the Festival founder. Available for pre-purchase online Buy Now, the book will be sold in downtown Keene while supplies last at Creative Encounters, Hannah Grimes, In the Company of FLOWERS, Kristin’s Bistro & Bakery, Ted’s Shoe & Sport and Toadstool Bookshop. Proceeds go to fund Pumpkin Festivals. There are 1,500 copies available.

Sporborg recognizes Festival volunteers and the people of the Monadnock Region for making the festival their own, crediting the community for the event’s success. The book is dedicated to “every person who carved a jack-o’-lantern and brought it to the Pumpkin Festival.”

Organized by category, the book includes chapters with pictures of the pumpkins, towers, people and children. The photographs were taken by over 20 photographers, the largest contributions coming from Al Braden of Austin, TX, formerly of Keene, and Mickey Pullen of Mount Juliet, TN. Local photographers featured include: James Sequenzia, Ruth Sterling, Steve Hooper, Shaundi Kane, Michael Moore, Maureen Bieniarz-Pond, Timothy Zinn, Robert Clifford, Bonnieta Kraft, Pauline Dionne, Lance Miller, Stillman Rogers, Paul Bostwick and Aaron Lipsky. Any pictures that are not specifically credited were taken by Center Stage or Let It Shine team members or community friends.

The stories in the book are told from Sporborg’s perspective and cover the event’s inception in 1991, through to its downfall in 2014, to the Laconia Pumpkin Festival in the fall of 2015.

Pumpkin Festivals interested in sharing in the book proceeds can write to Sporborg at nancy@ne.rr.com sharing the obstacles they are trying to overcome and how they would use the funds to help them thrive.

More     Buy Now


Last year and this year: What events happened and will happen again

13709862_1833435636875222_7266230985049151500_nIn 2015, Pumpkin Festival as we have known and loved it for 25 years moved north of Keene to Laconia, NH, where an unbelievably spectacular event took place on October 24.  NH Pumpkin Festival   #‎NHPumpkinFest‬ 🎃 This event continues on OCT 22, 2016, Downtown Laconia, NH

Images of Pumpkin Festival 2015 in Laconia by photographer Robert Clifford


11701189_475328375974443_1430810688092175249_nOn the same day as the Laconia festival, a new festival debuted near Keene at the Cheshire Fairgrounds, an event called the Monadnock Pumpkin Festival. This event continues on OCT 15, 2016, Cheshire Fair Grounds, 247 Monadnock Highway, Swanzey, NH


PumpkinFestival_LarryFratesPumpkin Festival at the junction of art, business and recreation

Laconia, August 14, 2015. Standing at the junction of art, business and recreation, key members of the Pumpkin Festival 2015 team unveiled a work of art created to support the festival.


Lakes Region Chamber Director Karmen Gifford; Pumpkin Festival event manager Ruth Sterling; Bank of NH official Mark Primeau; Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson; Paul Giblin, Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad; and Pat Kelly, WEMJ. Photo by Tiffany Benton.

“Business support of the pumpkin festival event promotes the arts and recreation in our state,” said Ruth Sterling. “Artist Lawrence Frates has used his talent to help. This is what Pumpkin Festival is all about. Everyone letting their own lights shine.”

Let it Shine, the non-profit producers of the fest, has demonstrated for four years that when a region’s schools, businesses, neighborhoods, families and individuals sit down to carve their pumpkins, one community becomes a showplace for the world.