“Riots” at Pumpkin Festival shouldn’t cause event to be cancelled - 626 responses

Oct 25, 2014

In the aftermath of riots at 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 (LFDA) Facebook members disagree that canceling the annual Keene Pumpkin Festival is the answer. Out of 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 of such an idea. Thirty-four percent (34) 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 why the annual festival should not be cancelled, many respondents literally—and some figuratively—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 cancelled. Noting kids from schools besides Keene State 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 the majority of individuals who did not answer the question, however the police and their reaction to the initial riotous behavior played a significant role in what then transpired. 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."

Click here to see the full Facebook discussion of this question.

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