In the world record books and in trouble for next year, Keene Pumpkin Fest might be in danger of being canceled. The Keene community came together to reach a goal and in return, beat a world record. However, a segment of the community may have lead to a troubled future for Pumpkin Fest.
“The point [of beating the record] was it gave an opportunity for the community to come together and to work towards achieving a goal,” Mayor Kendall Lane said.
Lane reflected on his excitement for the town’s success.
“I was thrilled that they achieved the goal but that wasn’t the point. The point was that the community to work together to make Pumpkin Fest successful,” Lane said.
Despite the success, there were some downfalls as well. Mayor Lane commented on the acts of some of the community members during the weekend of Pumpkin Fest.
“They were throwing beer cans, there were people on roof tops dancing naked and there were people who thought it was a big joke to be on roof tops pouring beer on people underneath them,” Lane said.
Ruth Sterling, the owner of STERLING Design & Communications and primary organizer of the festival, said important people are withdrawing their support of Pumpkin Fest because of the damage it caused.
“One of the fifteen city councilors who had previously voted for Keene Pumpkin Festival said he can no longer support the Pumpkin Festival after what he saw and took pictures of in his neighborhood this past weekend,” Sterling said.
Sterling stated that without the council member’s vote, Pumpkin Fest funding is in trouble. “I mean that is a real jeopardizing situation to not only the license to the festival but also the funding to the festival,” Sterling said.
Sterling said she is not going to let people who don’t know how to celebrate ruin the future of Pumpkin Fest. “I am not going to sit by and let out-of-control alcohol-induced behavior change the future of Keene Pumpkin Festival,” Sterling said.
Sterling stated that she is planning forums to tackle the issue caused by partiers. She stated that she needs people from every constituency to attend in order to discover the root of the problem.
“I need students who believe in partying to show up. I need students who don’t really advocate huge parties to show up…. I need members of the parent group, the alumni group. I need members of every constituency that has information about the root of this problem.”
Sterling said she believes finding the root of this problem will allow them to stop people from ruining the festival.
“So that we can not roll over and let the minority of people who do not know how to celebrate kill the best celebration that Keene could ever design,” Sterling said.
Despite the trouble caused by a segment of the community, there were a lot of people who worked together to make Pumpkin Fest successful, said the Pumpkin Fest organizer.
“I think there were a lot a lot of people in the city that deserve a lot of credit for having put that together,” added Lane.
Sterling said she gives attention to those who worked hard during Pumpkin Fest.
“People who work in the Pumpkin Dump Derby, the people who carve pumpkins, the people who are really polite to all of our guests the people who care about Keene Pumpkin Festival, the multi-generational!” Sterling said.
Mayor Lane reflected on Pumpkin Fest as a success, “It was an extremely positive festival. There were 70,000 people that had a wonderful time.” Lane said that the people who participated in the festival were happy about winning the record.
Even people who were unable to participate were happy about the accomplishment.
Stephanie Durvin, a KSC student, was at work during Pumpkin Lobotomy and did not have the opportunity to carve a pumpkin, but she was happy about the success. “I was mad because I had to work, I was mad because I didn’t get to do it, but I was glad that we broke it,” said Durvin of the record.
“And all who participated in the festival by bringing pumpkins or by lighting pumpkins those people were excited and absolutely thrilled by winning the record,” said Lane.
Anna Glassman can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org