LFDA members say leave Pumpkin Fest alone

Vast majority say riots shouldn’t cause cancellation of Keene event

In the aftermath of riots during the recent Keene Pumpkin Festival, at which a car was overturned and full liquor bottles and billiard balls were allegedly thrown at police officers, some are calling for its cancellation. Others contend, however, that it was the police in riot gear and their use of tear gas and pepper spray that helped incite the crowd’s violence.

Regardless as to why such behavior occurred, Live Free or Die Alliance Facebook members disagree that canceling the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival is the answer.

Of the respondents who directly answered the question, “Should Keene cancel its annual Pumpkin Festival?” 89 percent said it should not, while 11 percent expressed their support for such an idea. Thirty-four percent of all respondents, however, elected to comment on the subject in broader terms, as many offered differing theories as to what caused the riots and how it could have been handled differently.

In total, the LFDA received 626 citizen responses, including specific comments from 247 individuals supported by 348 concurrences.

As for the primary reasons the annual festival should not be canceled, many respondents alluded to the notion that one bad seed should not spoil the pumpkin patch.

“Why should we all lose a great tradition because of a few hooligans?” rhetorically noted one respondent. Others said the riots did not take place, in fact, at the festival itself. As one woman said, “This happened at the college … Seems like that would be the place to crack down on.”

Such reasoning, however, did not resonate with the select few who said the event should be canceled. Noting kids from schools besides Keene State College also attend the festival, one gentleman remarked, “Bottom line is the event is a debacle and serves no real value. The only way to keep those people away and this from happening is to cancel the event.”

For others, however, the police and their reaction to the initial riotous behavior played a significant role in what then transpired. and many respondents, including those who directly answered the question, touched on accountability. One respondent stated, “You punish them and hold the college, parents and student responsible.”

Rob Levey is editor of the Live Free or Die Alliance website, LFDA.org. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Live Free or Die Alliance, which takes no position on this or any other issue, presents this report not as any sort of scientific poll or survey, but rather a digest of citizen testimony. To learn more about this issue or the LFDA, visit lfda.org.

Categories: Opinion