Vincent Moore / News Editor

Alex Harvey

Equinox Staff

The revived Keene Pumpkin Festival was held just over a week ago and already Let it Shine, the group that organizes and promotes the festival, is preparing for next year.

On Saturday, Nov. 3, the group held a meeting in United Church of Christ to recruit volunteers for next year’s festival.

The members of Let it Shine agreed that this year’s Pumpkin Festival went very well, despite the legacy of the 2014 Pumpkin Festival riots still lingering in their minds.

Timothy Zinn, Board Chair of Let it Shine, spoke highly of student conduct during the weekend of the festival.

“All of the reports that I heard were amazing, I checked some stuff on Facebook and saw some posts from people in kind of key neighborhoods, if you want to call it, and they said it was amazing.  I looked over on Winchester Court which I think has been kind of a hotspot in the past, but even that was quiet,” Zinn said.

Kemal Atkins, Vice President for Student Affairs at Keene State College praised the Keene State College student body: “Students have done a really good job of wanting to represent the institution well, represent their families well, and also represent themselves well. Because you’re preparing to be leaders of the future beyond Keene State … the weekend went really well overall.”

Atkins said that students have been reminded of the school’s behavioral expectations repeatedly and in a variety of places, including in orientations, classes, student organizations, athletic teams, and in their residence halls.

“At the festival itself the students were there in the dark in the morning, lugging pumpkins and running games, holding the parade, setting up the labyrinth.” Let it Shine board member Ruth Simpson said, describing the various ways that Keene State students helped out with the festival.

The organizers of the festival had some specific volunteer requests, and the students at Keene State did their best to fulfill these requests. Students volunteered at the festival in a variety of ways, including cleaning up the festival grounds, dumping pumpkins, and running games.

The festival included displays of Jack-O-Lanterns carved by local school children, pumpkin games and trick-or-treating. The festival also included music provided by DJ RayRay and a live performance by former Keene State College student Senie Hunt, who drew a large crowd with his solo-acoustic set which included a mixture of original songs and covers, and showcased a variety of unconventional guitar techniques.

“We had a number of activities that took place on campus,” Atkins said.

Atkins said that the school is trying to establish new traditions with some of the events, including the movie marathon and Monster Mash Dance Party which were both held on Saturday, Summoning the Spirits on Sunday, and volunteering in the Pumpkin Festival.

“We had over fifty students serve as volunteers for the Keene Pumpkin Festival downtown.  It was a great weekend and a good opportunity for us to continue the high level of energy on campus right now,” Atkins said.

Alex Harvey can be contacted at

aharvey@kscequinox.com