Keene Pumpkin Festival organizer open to other locationsBy MEGHAN PIERCE
Union Leader Correspondent April 07. 2015 10:06PM
KEENE — Let It Shine, the nonprofit that runs the Keene Pumpkin Festival, will consider holding the festival in another city, event manager Ruth Sterling said Tuesday.
Last week, Sterling was adamant that the pumpkin festival would stay in Keene even after the City Council voted 13 to 1 to deny a permit for the 25th annual festival this fall.
However, Sterling posted Tuesday on Facebook that “The Let it Shine board of directors is aware of the requests from other cities and will be discussing the possibilities at a meeting next week. Should we let it shine somewhere else? What a choice facing us. Your thoughtful, kind advice is appreciated.”
Sterling said Let It Shine is faced with the question, “Would we rather have a pumpkin festival in another New England city rather than none at all? Would that help Keene’s elected and appointed officials appreciate what they’ve had for 24 years?”
She added that the group has refined the great pumpkin tower and other aspects of this pumpkin festival program to the point where it could be held elsewhere.
“Ideally, if Keene keeps its door closed, we would prefer to work with a city within driving distance so families with young children can make the trip. That way, Keene kids could still experience the magic of the spectacular pumpkin festival,” Sterling said.
City Council members said last week that before the festival was held again, the city would need time to craft a security and safety plan for the city in light of the drunken riots that rocked the Keene State College campus and surrounding neighborhood during the festival last October.
After the vote Thursday night, Sterling said while she had been approached by other New Hampshire cities, the festival would stay in Keene.
Paul Shea, director of Great American Downtown in Nashua, said Monday the festival is a New Hampshire tradition that should be preserved.
The Nashua nonprofit organization has reached out to organizers to explore the possibility of hosting the event in Nashua.