LACONIA — The Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce announced on Friday that the N.H. Pumpkin Festival in 2016 will he held here on Saturday, Oct. 22.

The annual festival was held in Keene from its inception in 1991 through 2014, when disturbances involving hundred of drunken college students congregating near Keene State led city officials to think twice about the renowned event. The City Council eventually voted not to issue a permit for a 2015 festival and the organizing company, Let It Shine, began looking for a new host.

Laconia enthusiastically volunteered and on Oct. 24 hosted a festival that drew rave reviews. Thousands of people from across the northeast were drawn to downtown Laconia and nearly 10,000 jack-o-lanterns were lit simultaneously in the early evening. Keene's pumpkin eventually reached an astounding 30,000 but did not reach the 10,000 mark until its fourth year in business.

The Chamber of Commerce took the lead in organizing Laconia's version of the festival, with Let It Shine as a guiding partner.

"The community collaboration was amazing and truly responsible for the success of our first Pumpkin Festival event," said chamber Executive Director Karemn Gilford in making the announcement. "With the leadership of Let It Shine and its event manager, Ruth Sterling, we created a festival that brought joy to attendees and an economic boost to our local economy. We are ready and looking forward to a full twelve months of planning to make the 2016 Pumpkin Festival even more successful!"

"The N.H. Pumpkin Festival torch is being passed," continued Gifford. "The Lakes Region Chamber, City of Laconia and community at large are very grateful for the support of Let It Shine and ready to start carving out the next N.H. Pumpkin Festival in Laconia.

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