The city of Keene is bringing Pumpkinfest back again after the festival was rekindled in 2017. The festival is geared toward younger children with activities such as pumpkin bowling and the children’s costume parade.
Let it Shine Board Member Timothy Zinn, who manages and volunteers at the festival, said volunteers are a big help, “Half or more of our volunteers are from the college and we really appreciate the help that they offer.”
Students who sign up to volunteer can choose from four different shifts to work during the festival: The first shift is from seven a.m. to twelve p.m. and involves setting up the display to showcase the pumpkins and receiving the pumpkins. The second shift is from ten a.m. to three p.m. and involves setting up the entertainment stations and organizing the last of the pumpkins. The third shift is from two p.m. to seven p.m. and involves working at the entertainment stations, counting pumpkins and setting up candles to go inside those pumpkins. The fourth shift is from six p.m. to nine-thirty p.m. and involves cleaning up Central Square, helping to break down the displays, removing candles and getting rid of pumpkins. There is also an All Day Superstar shift that allows students who want to work the festival all day to do so. The shift runs from seven a.m. to nine-thirty p.m. and volunteers are given a break when partaking this shift.
Zinn said the gesture from KSC students to help out in any way they can at the festival is greatly appreciated by the board.
“We’re working hard to rebuild the festival and the reputation it holds. I feel like it’s really cool to see the connection between younger students and the older students, because it really shows the community that these new waves of college students have their best intentions in mind. I think KSC’s ‘Wisdom to make a difference’ motto is really fitting for the situation because the past is the past and new students have learned from mistakes made by past students. It’s not a weekend to party, it’s a weekend to share the joy and positivity that the Pumpkinfest brings to Keene,” Zinn said.
Student volunteer Genevieve Joly helped out at last year’s Pumpkinfest, and said she plans to again this year.
“I honestly love helping out and getting to see the difference I am able to make. Hearing how happy everyone was at the festival last year made me happy that I had a hand in creating it,” Joly said.
Board member Zinn said he encourages students to volunteer, and Joly said the message the volunteers radiate is definitely positive.
“If definitely sends a good message. Because the college and downtown are so close together, it’s important for there to be a good relationship between them. College students helping out at the festival shows that they care about the community and want to give back,” Joly said.
After the riots at the 2014 Pumpkinfest, the town decided it was best to not bring the festival back for the 2015 fall season. After rekindling the festival in 2017, Coordinator of Community Services Jessica Gagne Cloutier said student volunteers being at the festival is vital to making things right with the community. “It’s no surprise that the connection between students and the community was tainted after the 2014 riots. Students now are working towards giving back to the community and Pumpkinfest is a great place to do so.”
Students interested in volunteering can visit www.PumpkinFestival.org to register to volunteer online.
Emily Carstensen can be