Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Keene Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire This Saturday, October 22nd

This Saturday marks the 21st annual Keene Pumpkin Festival in picturesque downtown Keene, New Hampshire.With eight world records for the most lit jack-o'-lanterns in one place, Keene has become a magnet for visitors to the Monadnock Region each fall. 

The 21st annual Keene Pumpkin Festival 2011 opens for visitors at 12 Noon on Saturday, October 22, 2011 and offers a Pumpkin Festival parade, pumpkin bowling (real bowling pins and score keeping only using pumpkins), food court under the lights of one of the festival's magical towers, craft fair, live music, storytelling and of course the spectacular three-story high pumpkin towers with tens of thousands more lit jack-o-lanterns on display at grounds level!

The original Pumpkin Festival, which has been copied in cities across the United States, started in Keene, NH, in 1991, the brainchild of communications and public relations professional Nancy Sporborg. Since that time the Keene Pumpkin Festival has earned 8 Guinness World Records and has drawn challenges from other cities vying to replicate the magic of Keene's Pumpkin Festival. This year, Highwood, Illinois, has officially challenged Keene to a duel and a dual festival. These dueling community-hosted pumpkin festivals will be held at the same time, and each city will attempt to break the current world record of 30,128 jack-o-lanterns currently held by Boston since 2006. Both small towns have decided to come together in the spirit of friendly competition to showcase how two separate cities can shine and exemplify the beauty of community involvement.

"Don't come to Keene this Saturday without your pumpkin," advises Keene Pumpkin Festival event manager Ruth Sterling of Sterling Design & Communications and Let it Shine, Inc. "For years people have thought they are coming here to see our pumpkins when in fact, it has always been a full-participation festival." So carve a pumpkin and head on down to Keene to help regain the title and have yourself some good old-fashioned fun!

With the fall harvest season in full swing here on our sustainable pasture-based farm as well as all around us in the agriculturally productive Connecticut River Valley, the Keene Pumpkin Festival presents yet another great Monadnock Region attraction for your next New Hampshire family vacation. If you wish to make a weekend of the festival be sure to plan far in advance for this popular weekend.

Innkeeper The Inn at Valley Farms

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"Feast on This Film Festival" FilmThis Saturday at Inn at Valley Farms in Walpole, New Hampshire

Thursday, October 13th begins Monadnock Farm and Community Connection's 4th Annual Feast on This Film Festival here in the beautiful Monadnock Region. This four day event features films that highlight a diversity of issues and viewpoints related to food and agriculture that will spark conversation on what we value about the farms in our region, and action we can take to support them.

Films are being screened at a variety of locations scattered in and around Keene, New Hampshire including here at our very own farm in Walpole. The festival kicks off with a progressive dinner in Keene Thursday evening with a local beer and cheese tasting at Brewtopia then moving downtown to the Works Bakery Cafe. Films over the four days will also be shown at a local cafe, coffee shop, library, bookstore and in some cases a lively discussion is planned to follow.

This Saturday, October 15th, our sustainable pasture-based farm will be the site of one of the feature films of this year's festival - The Farmer and the Horse. From award-winning journalist Jared Flesher, this film digs into difficult questions about sustainability, self-sufficiency, and why we do the work we do. Flesher’s film goes beyond the usual platitudes of smiling organic farmers talking about the good life. Farming is hard work, especially if you don’t use a tractor. This is a documentary everyone who cares about land use, the environment, and good food should see. Our event will begin at 2pm with a tour of our farm and discussion of our sustainable farming methods with lots of opportunity for questions. Then we'll gather in our four story, century-old barn and sit on hay bales to snack on freshly popped popcorn while viewing the film. Alyson's Orchard will be donating some of their fresh tasty apples for the event as well.

Each film has a suggested donation of $2 at the door or festival passes are available for a suggested donation of $10 each. For more info visit or call 603-756-2988 x116.

With the foliage arriving later than usual this year, the fall color should be just about peak this weekend. We're very fortunate in this area to have such a wealth of thriving agricultural enterprises. Apples at Alyson's Orchard are at their peak right now, Walpole's Farmers' Market Friday afternoon will be brimming with all the fall harvest has to offer, wine tastings both Saturday and Sunday at Walpole's own Walpole Mountain View Winery, of course Walpole's own Burdick Chocolates, Walpole Creamery Ice Cream, Boggy Meadow Farm Cheese, several farmstands, a corn maze and more! Why not make a weekend of it and come stay at our New England country Inn? Either way, hope to see you at the farm on Saturday!

Innkeeper The Inn at Valley Farms