I guess I can be the first to admit to never really loving the Pumpkin Festival all that much. Being a socially awkward introvert, the idea of thousands of drunken college students wandering around town makes me incredibly uneasy.
The large groups of friends, most of whom don’t even go here, absolutely throws me off. It’s just not my kind of scene. The Pumpkin Festival may be a much beloved tradition by the town and a loved excuse to get wasted by college students, but it’s not really for me. I’m not one for house parties where you couldn’t move to save your life or even watching shenanigans unfold from the comfort of my dorm.
Instead of participating in the yearly debauchery, I either found alternative plans, or just plain went home. So memorable were my previous Pumpkin Festivals that the only activity I can remember partaking in during the last three Pumpkin Fests was politicking for political candidates during the actual daytime festival last year.
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I have no idea what I did any of the other times, nor do I remember what I did later on that day. Whenever I say that, people assume I was just too drunk to remember. Let me take this moment to say that’s not true, I really honestly don’t remember. Clearly that means I must have had the time of my life.
Having said all of that, my “excitement” over this year’s Pumpkin Fest may come as a shock. I say excitement, only because it’s a far more socially acceptable way to explain my absolute resolution to participate in the loving Keene State tradition of Pumpkin Fest – not to mention the fact that it’s much less of a mouthful.
Call it regrets of Pumpkin Fests past or the knowledge that this is my last Pumpkin Fest but I have made it my goal to enjoy every stereotypical part of this year’s Pumpkin Fest. You bet you’ll see me Friday carving a pumpkin during Lobotomy, Saturday morning I’ll be running around downtown tasting food and checking out the pumpkins, Saturday night I hope to find myself wandering around Keene in one of those large masses of students, or perhaps with my friends at one of the bars soaking up the atmosphere.
No matter what, I have resolved to soak up every single moment of this weekend and savor it. Despite the massive amounts of homework I have due bright and early Monday morning and the obscene number of meetings I have on Sunday, I am bound and determined to have a good Pumpkin Fest.
I wrote the first part of this before I went out and reveled in Pumpkin Fest and all its glory. Since I wanted honesty within my column, I opted to start the column before Pumpkin Fest and finish it after the festivities, giving my readers something of a full spectrum.
I did go to Pumpkin Lobotomy on Friday, and got a pumpkin but never carved it. On Saturday I wandered around downtown eating delicious food with my roommate and her parents and had a good time. Saturday night I did both wait in obscene lines to get into the bars and wandered around town with a small group of people, visiting the house parties of various friends.
I spent the night at a friend’s house, an event planned ahead of time in case I did have too much to drink, but blissfully I was sober. I did everything you’re seemingly supposed to do over the Pumpkin Fest weekend; I did everything I said I would at the very least.
Now that I’ve arrived home to a quiet and absolutely trashed apartment and I’ve had breakfast with a severely hung-over friend, I am now a little bit better able to offer up my honest thoughts about Pumpkin Fest. As hard as I tried, I had a miserable weekend. I’m not sure if it was the obscenely high hopes I had for myself or just that I am really not the kind of person who enjoys going out and getting drunk with thousands of other young people. I didn’t think it was all that different from any other weekend for Keene State, other than it being labeled “Pumpkin Fest.”
I seemed to do a little bit of everything related to Pumpkin Fest, especially all the things that Keene State seems to be known for. Pumpkin Lobotomy was fun, though I was working at a table for most of it.
The festival itself was a delight, the food was phenomenal, and what few pumpkins that were out there were all really well done or adorable. The families and non-student guests all seemed to enjoy it at least. The lines for bars were obscenely long, but everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Only a few smashed pumpkins were floating around when I walked back, my friends and I ending our night surprisingly early. Sunday morning I drove around and saw the clean-up crews cleaning up smashed pumpkins through Railroad Square and all over parts of Main St.
Chelsea Mellin can be contacted at