Pumpkin cleanup is more of a sport in Keene
KEENE - Team Target has been named the winning team from the Keene Pumpkin Festival Pumpkin Dump Derby, winning $1,000 for its designated nonprofit, the Monadnock United Way.
A total of 12 teams of up to 25 members each competed in the competition that took place on Main Street following the conclusion of the 22nd annual Keene Pumpkin Festival.
Teams made up of Keene State College student groups as well as local community groups collectively cleaned more than 17,000 pumpkins during the first Pumpkin Dump Derby, festival manager Ruth Sterling said.
"The spirit and strength of these teams invigorated the Pumpkin Festival cleanup, contributed to a safer Main Street, and raised $2,100 for amazing causes like Relay for Life, the Monadnock United Way and the Special Olympics," Sterling said. "The winning team was Target, who moved 2,845 pumpkins into compost containers in 12 minutes and 4 seconds.
Phi Sigma Sigma, Team Hope, and Delta Phi Epsilon rounded out the top four with finishing times under 22 minutes.
Sterling said the derby was incredibly successful.
"It was shocking how fast it got cleaned up," she said.
Each hour Main Street has to remain closed and secured by police for after festival cleanup costs the festival about $7,000, according to Sterling.
Sterling said how much money the faster cleanup saved the festival is not yet known, but the fast cleanup without mayhem and pumpkin smashing has been a huge morale boost for festival volunteers, she said.
"Morale-wise, it was huge. It shows the people who we work with in the city - the fire, police and public works people - that there is a way to clean up the festival before a mess happens," Sterling said.
She said there was one derby glitch in which three teams were assigned one Dumpster.
That Dumpster filled up in about 10 minutes and frustrated participants stood around for about an hour waiting for instructions.
Sterling said that it was an error in Dumpster assignment, which the festival plans to look out for closely when bringing the event back again next year.
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