Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Select Board Meeting tonight, Wed 11/18

Stay up to date on the latest issues and support our Selectboard in their decisions on the pipeline.

Christopher Steadman, Winchester's representative to New Hampshire Municipal Pipeline Coalition, will bring information from the today's meeting (11/17) to the board at tomorrow night's meeting.

Winchester has an opportunity to file for intervenor status regarding Liberty Utilities' proposal to install residential gas lines. The deadline is December 1st.

More information about Winchester's contribution to NHMPC legal fees will be presented.

Sue Durling will attend the NH PUC meeting in Concord at 1pm Wednesday, and update Christopher prior to the BOS meeting. The PUC rulemaking committee is considering relaxing rules so that projects like NED can disregard local ordinances.
Save the dates:
-December 1st 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Kinder Morgan public information session
-December 11th 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
March on State House to present 10,000 signatures to Governor Hassan

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Board of Selectmen Minutes 10-28-15

to enlarge the print click on the page with your mouse .. a new page will open .. right click with your mouse and choose "view page"

Board of Selectmen Minutes 10-21-15

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Winchester residents skeptical of plan to expand natural gas

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
WINCHESTER — Some Winchester residents and opponents of a proposed natural gas pipeline sought to depict a not-so-rosy picture of insider knowledge, back-door dealing and corporations teaming together to profit on the backs of rural communities during a hearing Wednesday. Liberty Utilities officials were in Winchester Wednesday to present a plan to selectmen to bring natural gas service to the town via the proposed and controversial Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.
In December, Liberty Utilities filed a petition with the N.H. Public Utilities Commission seeking approval of an agreement to buy natural gas off the proposed pipeline.
A month later, in January, the company signed a deal to purchase N.H. Gas Corp. in Keene, with plans to convert its more than 100-year-old propane-air mixture distribution system to carry compressed or liquefied natural gas.
Nine months later, Liberty Utilities filed a petition with the state Public Utilities Commission for rights to own and operate natural gas distribution systems in Winchester, Swanzey, Jaffrey and Rindge.
Two of the four towns — Rindge and Winchester — are along the proposed route of the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, while the other two are nearby. None of the towns have natural gas distribution systems.
According to the petition, Liberty plans to tap into the pipeline to supply natural gas to the towns, but would look at other options if the pipeline project is delayed or doesn’t happen.
Liberty Utilities is a subsidiary of Algonquin Power and Utilities Corp. And Algonquin, which has its headquarters in Ontario, Canada, is participating in the development of the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline with Kinder Morgan through that company’s subsidiary, Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.
Liberty officials repeatedly said Wednesday the series of events leading up to the company’s filing this fall to expand natural gas service was a coincidence.
However, Michael Licata, director of government and community relations for Liberty Utilities, acknowledged — when put on the spot by Winchester Conservation Commission member John H. Hann — that a diagram being circulated by anti-pipeline activists showing Liberty Utilities having a relationship to the project was “essentially accurate that we have an unregulated affiliate with investment in the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.”
The document, created by Susan L. Durling of the activist group Winchester Pipeline Awareness, shows Kinder Morgan and Algonquin partnering to form Northeast Expansion LLC to build and own the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, with Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. being brought in as Kinder Morgan’s subsidiary to operate it.
The diagram then shows Algonquin’s connection to Liberty Utilities, which is also known in New Hampshire as EnergyNorth Natural Gas Inc.
Liberty Utilities signed an agreement with Tennessee Gas Pipeline to purchase 115,000 dekatherms of natural gas per day at a fixed rate from the pipeline.
The N.H. Public Utilities Commission approved that agreement last month. The decision has since been appealed.
Hann noted to Licata and two other Liberty Utilities officials in attendance Wednesday that for Kinder Morgan to have its application for the pipeline approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the company must show there is a need.
“So by you contracting with Kinder Morgan, you’re enabling them to prove the need even though (Richard G. MacDonald) pointed out that there are no customers here,” he said, referencing Liberty Utilities’ director of gas operations.
Licata responded that Liberty officials would send out mailings to potential customers to gauge interest, and they understand there has to be customer interest for the N.H. Public Utilities Commission to award gas franchise rights to an area.
“We’re not coming forward with this proposal as part of a way to validate Kinder Morgan or the Northeast Energy District pipeline. It’s not about us or creating a need for a pipeline,” Licata said.
He said Liberty Utilities officials understand there is local concern and opposition to the pipeline project, and they weren’t asking selectmen, or anyone else at the meeting, to change their view on the project because of Liberty’s proposal.
“What we’re proposing here is the town get some direct benefit from the pipeline,” he said.
That would be done by installing a station where the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline intersects Richmond Road (Route 119) to depressurize the natural gas and feed it into the smaller pipe that will be part of the local distribution system, he said.
The system’s route would follow Richmond Road west to Main Street (Route 10), where it would then turn south to the intersection of Main Street, General James Reed Highway (Route 119) and Warwick Road (Route 78). Along the way, a line would branch off on Parker Street to serve that neighborhood and the school, according to a map Licata presented.
At the intersection of Routes 10, 119 and 78, the distribution pipeline would follow Warwick Road southeast and then turn onto Snow Road, ending at Applewood Rehabilitation Center, according to the map.
William J. Clark, business development professional for Liberty Utilities, said there are breaks in the map to show that it would take more than one construction season to build the local distribution system. Residents and businesses connected to the system would pay the same rates as Liberty Utilities’ natural gas customers in other parts of the state, he said.
Multiple construction seasons would also be needed to build the portion of pipeline proposed to run north along Route 10 in the N.H. Department of Transportation right-of-way from the intersection of Richmond Road and Main Street to bring natural gas to Swanzey and Keene, he said. The line, which is also being referred to as the Keene lateral, would then tie into Keene’s gas infrastructure.
The proposed Northeast Energy Direct pipeline is a 30-inch diameter, high-pressure line bringing natural gas from shale fields in Pennsylvania through upstate New York, parts of northern Massachusetts and into southern New Hampshire before going to a distribution hub in eastern Massachusetts.
The route would cross about 70 miles of southern New Hampshire, including Fitzwilliam, Richmond, Rindge, Troy and Winchester and would carry up to 1.3 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day. The amount could provide electricity to 886,162 households.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is in the pre-filing stages with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has the power to approve or deny the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline.
Tennessee Gas Pipeline officials plan to file the full application for the project with FERC this fall. Company officials anticipate it will take a year for the pipeline to receive federal approval, if it does.
Many people attending Wednesday’s meeting were quick to pepper Liberty Utilities officials with questions about its proposal to build a natural gas distribution system in town, including how it would affect the town’s existing water and sewer infrastructure — some of which isn’t mapped — who would pay for the build-out of the system, and if town residents and business owners really want the option to tie into natural gas.
“Does Winchester or any other town have the ability to say ‘no?’ “ Conservation Commission member Bonnie G. Leveille asked.
Licata said Winchester officials and residents can voice their opposition to Liberty Utilities’ proposal to the N.H. Public Utilities Commission, but company officials would like to partner with the town on the project.
“We want to work with municipal officials on the location of the system and identify and address any concerns on the build-out,” he said.
After the presentation concluded, the four Winchester selectmen present voted unanimously to send a letter to the N.H. Public Utilities Commission about their concerns with Liberty Utilities’ proposal.
Selectman Theresa G. Sepe was absent.
Besides Winchester, Liberty Utilities officials have scheduled a presentation for next week about the expansion plans in Swanzey. That meeting will be held Tuesday at Swanzey Town Hall during the selectmen’s meeting, which begins at 6 p.m.
Licata said Wednesday that presentation dates in Jaffrey and Rindge have yet to be finalized.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015


All area residents encouraged to attend in a show of opposition to the pipeline

Winchester Town Hall
Wednesday, November 4th, 7:00 (TONIGHT!)


Liberty Utilities (close, close buddies of Eversource and Kinder Morgan) will be making a presentation to the Board about the option to provide natural (fracked) gas service to parts of town. This will cost those who convert $7,000-$9,000 to convert. On top of that will be the increase to your monthly electric bill to pay for the pipeline through NH!  If completed, the price of gas will INCREASE once the gas is exported, not decrease - that’s their dirty little plan to get you hooked.

Why would you convert to toxic gas in an industry that grows closer to being shut down with each passing day? Have you considered what will happen if fracking is banned and Kinder Morgan shuts down? Their stock keeps falling and their rating is now BBB-, just above junk bonds. Where will we be if their project is left half complete with environmental degradation all around us and no company to hold accountable? 

Come on our tonight! Learn more, know more, share more, educate more so we can STOP THE NED PIPELINE! 

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Stop NH The Pipeline Newsletter


Your physical presence makes a statement.

About #KMface and the importance of protesting!  Listen to this man’s words about “showing up”!

Concerns to be voiced at Halloween-themed anti-pipeline rally in Keene This rally isn’t just about pipelines, it’s about climate change, divesting from fossil fuels and protecting our natural resources! Grab your neon T-shirt or costume, your sign, and join us!

March & Rally in Keene, New Hampshire

Pipeline Opposition, Climate, Fossil Fuel Divestment Organizations, Farmers & Public Welcome!

9:30 AM Rise & Shine! Bring your coffee! Meet & greet! ✧
10:00 AM March leaves Ashuelot River Park *
10:30 AM Rally begins at Central Square

✧ Pipeline tees will be available for sale at Ashuelot River Park. ($10/$12)
* Those with mobility or health issues may meet us at Central Square.

350 NH
NH Spirit
350 Action
Stop NED
ECHO Action
Post Oil Solutions
NextGen Climate NH
Safe and Green Campaign
Temple Pipeline Task Force
Monadnock Pipeline Resistance
Winchester Pipeline Awareness
Merrimack Pipeline Resistance
New Ipswich Pipeline Resistance
Stop the NH Pipeline: Monadnock Region
West Roxbury Quarry Neighbors for a Fossil Free Future

Keene State College
Franklin Pierce University
University of New Hampshire
Antioch University New England

Thursday, October 29, 2015

WINchester Pipeline Awareness -- IMPORTANT MEETING !!

IMPORTANT MEETING --Select Board,Wed, Nov. 4th, 7 pm
 Liberty Utilities will be making a presentation to the Winchester Board of Selectmen in regards to their proposed spur line and about their option to provide natural gas service to a very small part of the town. All of this seems mute at this time as there is no gas pipeline for them to hook into to run a line to their facility in Keene. This is like putting the cart in front of the horse and an attempt to sway our select board into thinking this would be beneficial for the town .. IT IS NOT !

Its only been in the last few weeks that the BOS has taken a stand in response to our vote in March. You have made a difference with your calls, emails and attendance at meetings. It's important that we turn out again to reinforce opposition to NED.

 ~$5,000 to convert from oil to natural gas (if you live in the  proposed downtown area ),and why would you? - since the price of gas will rise (x 4 or 5) once NED gas gets exported to Europe!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How could they not oppose the pipeline?

What say ye?

N.H. Governor and A.G. OPPOSE pipeline ...
How do I know that? By simple deduction. In a recent court settlement the N.H. Supreme Court upheld a $236 million fine imposed on gas giant Exxon Mobil for contaminating thousands of ground water wells with the additive MTBE. Said Gov. Maggie Hassan: “New Hampshire’s natural resources and beauty are critical to our high quality of life and economy, a defining characteristic of what makes our state a special place to live, work and visit. Today’s decision is an example of the states vigilance in fighting against pollution that damages our environment and threaten the health of our people.”
Attorney General Joseph Foster noted separately, “This historic decision sends a clear message that New Hampshire will not permit polluters to endanger the health of its citizens and destroy it’s natural resources.”
So, based on those comments, how could our governor and attorney general NOT oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline? They know that chemicals and massive amounts of precious water are used to extract the gas from the shale fields in Pennsylvania; that every home, family and natural resource in the pipeline corridor between Pennsylvania and Dracut, Mass., are in the incinerator zone and merely collateral damage; that a 41,000-horsepower compressor in New Ipswich will be emitting the toxins benzene, toluene, sulfuric acid and formaldehyde; that Round-Up (Agent Orange) will be used to keep the pipeline corridor free of vegetation; that the very reason tourists visit New Hampshire is to view the beautiful scenery, not wide swaths of cleared forests.
I could go on. Everything that the governor and the attorney general so beautifully expressed is why they should oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline. How could they NOT? Add to those reasons the fact that the pipeline represents few jobs, and that the gas will be shipped to the highest bidder, not remain here for New Hampshire use.
How can the governor and the attorney general NOT oppose the pipeline? Or would they rather wait until the destruction and contamination put forth is like that of Exxon Mobil?



Brattleboro police seek public's help in finding missing teenager

BRATTLEBORO — Police are asking for the public’s help in finding a teenager who has been missing since late last week. Opal Robinson, 15, of Brattleboro, was last heard from on Friday afternoon, according to a news release from the Brattleboro Police Department.
She remains missing as of this morning, Detective Lt. Mike Carrier said in an email.
Brattleboro police ask anyone with information on Robinson’s location to contact them at 802-257-7950 or the tip line at 802-251-8188.

Winchester police officer arrested, accused of pointing loaded gun at someone

 The old, don't ask me, pass the buck defense .. Where is Sgt. Schultz when you need him?

By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
WINCHESTER — A local police officer has been arrested and charged with criminal threatening with a deadly weapon in connection with an August incident when he allegedly pointed a loaded firearm at someone. Kevin W. Martel, 25, is expected to be arraigned in December on the felony charge, Cheshire County Attorney D. Chris McLaughlin said Monday.
He said he did not have further details about the incident.
McLaughlin said his office learned of the situation last week, and that the incident happened in Winchester. He didn’t know if Martel was on duty at the time.
As of this morning, nothing had been filed in 8th Circuit Court District Division in Keene or Cheshire County Superior Court.
N.H. State Police, who are investigating the incident, referred all questions about the case to McLaughlin’s office Monday. The Winchester Police Department also referred questions about the case to McLaughlin’s office.
McLaughlin referred questions about Martel’s employment status to the Winchester Police Department. Winchester Police referred those question to the Winchester Town Hall.
An official at Winchester Town Hall said her office didn’t have any information about Martel’s employment status or whether he’d been placed on administrative leave.
Martel has been a member of the Winchester Police Department for about a year, based on annual town reports. He could not be reached for comment.
McLaughlin said he expects the case to be prosecuted in Cheshire County, but it likely will not be handled by his office.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Environmental rally sets record in Manchester

New Hampshire Union Leader

MANCHESTER — Nearly 100 environmental activists from southern New Hampshire rallied against climate change in Manchester, setting a record for the largest climate-oriented rally in state history, organizers said.
The rally drew students from Southern New Hampshire University, Keene State College, St. Anselm College and University of New Hampshire-Manchester, as well as families from Gilsum, Weare and Manchester. Opponents to the Kinder Morgan pipeline also attended the rally, bringing a black, cylinder-shaped ballon with the words Stop the Pipeline.
The rally was organized by NextGen Climate New Hampshire.

NextGen spokesman Wyatt Ronan said the rally qualifies as the largest climate rally in New Hampshire. The approximately 95 participants topped the crowd of 60 who attended a League of Conservation Voters rally over the summer in Portsmouth, he said.
“It’s a super low bar, we understand that,” Ronan said.

NextGen also held a roundtable discussion at UNH in Durham and a candlelight vigil at Dartmouth College. NextGen said the Manchester ally is part of a national day of action to focus on a goal of achieving more than 50 percent clean energy by 2030.
The rally included brief remarks from several speakers.

Mayoral candidate Joyce Craig faulted incumbent Ted Gatsas for blocking a 1 megawatt solar project in Manchester. Craig said the project would have saved the city $1.5 million in energy bills and generated $5,000 in property tax revenues.
“The mayor put an end to that project — that’s unacceptable,” Craig said.

“Instead of Manchester being a leader in clean energy, we have our government officials actually lobbying against the project,” said Garth Corriveau, the Ward 6 alderman who is running for alderman at-large.

Buy this Image
Climate action activists display a parachute and pipeline balloon Wednesday afternoon during a rally at Pulaski Park in Manchester. (MARK HAYWARD/UNION LEADER)
In the past, Gatsas has said projected returns fell short of estimates given for previous solar projects at the city landfill. He has also said the land could be put to better use.

Other speakers included college students spoke about getting university recycling programs off the ground and problems related to environmental justice and environmental racism. The rally lasted for about a half hour.
Greg Moore, the state director of the Koch Brothers-affiliated Americans for Prosperity, said energy plans from the left will drive up the cost of energy. “It will cost us economic growth, cost us jobs, cost us wages,” he said.
But in an interview with the Union Leader, Moore would not answer questions of whether climate change is real and what is responsible for it. “We’re focused on dollars and cents,” he said. 

Stop NH The Pipeline Newsletter



- Hillary Clinton at Keene State College - Q&A about FERC and pipelines
* Transcribed
* Clip regarding FERC & NED pipeline
* Full Town Hall at KSC including question about fracking at 39 minutes in, followed by NED & FERC
- WMUR plugs Hillary’s response to pipeline question at Town Hall at KSC
- Pipeline opposition attends climate rally in Manchester (Union Leader story & photos)
- “Pipelines Are Scarier Than Halloween”, Oct 31st march, rally, flash mob dance in Keene! Plan to be there!
- Pipeline opposition at the Winchester Pickle Festival
- Pipeline opposition at the Milford Pumpkin Festival
- Pipeline opposition at the Nashua Harvest Parade
- Governor Hassan and the Executive Council in Mason on Monday
- Pipeline Information Pop-In at the Fitzwilliam Library Wednesday night


We need you for support. Please come out, get involved!  Your next big opportunity is on Halloween! It’s difficult to to convince elected officials that people don’t approve of the pipeline when few people show up at rallies. Making your presence known is important. We know you’re busy. We are too. It’s a choice to make the time to be present. Speak now, or forever wish you had! Come on out and join us - I promise you’ll meet nice people and have fun!!!


Hillary Clinton Town Hall at Keene State College, 10/16/15
Question regarding FERC regulations and pipelines (transcribed).

March • Rally • Flash Mob Dance and some surprises too!

* Come do the FERC & Kinder Morgan Monster Smash! *

- Thoughtful signs (cannot go in the ground)
- You may bring wrapped treats and informational handouts
- All pipeline towns welcome and encouraged to attend
- Positive, peaceful protest/vigil
- Costumes encouraged!
- Want to do something about the pipeline? Please come out in numbers at 10:00 am to support this rally!!!

PLEASE RSVP if you have decorated vehicles, floats, or other fun visuals! Keep it safe and friendly!
Keene, Swanzey and Jaffrey have just been added to the proposed pipeline impact towns. Let's draw them in!

Citizens can't rely on state laws for protection

Citizens in New Hampshire have been mobilizing to oppose certain large, corporate industrial projects such as Northern Pass or the Kinder Morgan pipeline that threaten the New Hampshire way of life. They are attending meetings and hearings because they believe that the environment will be harmed or that the health, safety and welfare of their families and neighbors are endangered. Many residents believe that once their voices have been heard, the regulators will order major changes to the proposed project or prevent it from being built. Unfortunately, their reliance on the current regulatory scheme is misplaced, because federal, state and local laws cannot be relied upon to accomplish either of these goals. The proposed industrial project will go forward unless the corporation decides, for its own reasons, to postpone or abandon it. Why? Because the regulatory process regulates only how the project proceeds, not if it will proceed.
Throughout the United States, large commercial energy, transportation and building projects are regulated by a host of government agencies, such as the EPA, DOE and BLM. Once the public hearings have been held and the federal rules and regulations (usually fashioned by the industry involved) have been satisfied, the project must be allowed to proceed under federal law. Citizens can’t rely on state laws for protection, because, under the doctrine of preemption, federal law takes precedence over state law.
Similarly, at the state level, where projects are overseen by a myriad of state agencies such as the DES or DRED, the project must be allowed once the corporation meets the required laws and regulations. Local laws are also thwarted. Under “Dillon’s Rule,” because the state allows the municipalities to exist, the state should determine what laws municipalities may enforce. If the municipal law isn’t subject to Dillon’s Rule, it will likely be preempted if the state has already acted. A notable exception was when Durham was able to stop the planned Onassis oil terminal some years ago. However, in order to stop this project, those opposing the oil terminal had to mobilize the whole state to permit the community to do so.
The state allows municipalities to enforce zoning ordinances under the theory that each town can best determine how to manage the land within its bounds, although these laws may not be exclusionary in nature. However, zoning laws are but a temporary impediment to any proposed industrial project with all the necessary state and federal permits. Once all of the requirements of the ordinances are complied with, the project can (and probably will) proceed.
A former presidential candidate once uttered, “Corporations are people, my friends.” He was right. While corporations are a bundle of property rights created to shield the owners from liability, these legal entities have been given the status of “persons” under the law. Over time these artificial persons have been afforded rights under the federal and state constitutions. Corporations have successfully filed suits for damages claiming violation of their constitutional rights. The Fourteenth Amendment has been used to protect corporations claiming harm more than often than it has been used to protect the rights of natural persons. Citing their constitutional rights, large corporations have not been shy about bringing suits against those opposing them.
What can you do? Fight back. Support the New Hampshire Community Rights Network proposed amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution designed to elevate the rights of real persons over the rights of artificial persons. Visit the network at
Lorraine L. Hansen
Council for Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
LL Hansen Legal PA
P.O 1115

New pumpkin festival at Cheshire Fairgrounds ready to roll out

By Susan Reing Sentinel Staff
NORTH SWANZEY — Jennifer Matthews is about to be bombarded with pumpkins, but she’s sitting in her newly rented office just a stone’s throw from the Cheshire Fairgrounds looking as cool as a cucumber. Matthews’ company, Memorable Events LLC, is tackling the job of putting on the first Monadnock Pumpkin Festival at the Swanzey fairgrounds Saturday, Oct. 24, and she’s determined to make it a success — and an annual event for years to come.
A professional event planner based in Westmoreland, Matthews said the idea for hosting the festival came to her as she was driving past the fairgrounds in April. The week before, the Keene City Council had denied a permit for the 2015 downtown festival following rioting in the city last October outside the annual event’s footprint.
She wondered why it couldn’t simply be moved to a better-suited location.
“Without the downtown component, it becomes a whole lot less insane,” she said.
Matthews had helped put on the 2005 Keene festival as a member of Center Stage Cheshire County, and knew the logistics it would involve. She just had to get enough people excited about the idea to get it off the ground.
They weren’t hard to find.
Past participants and businesses stepped up. Former members of Let It Shine Inc., which organized the past four Keene festivals, lent their expertise. And the region loves its pumpkins, she noted.
She’s counting on that love to bring out lots of people, all carrying carved pumpkins (and candles) to add to the festival display. Matthews isn’t out to break any records (Keene holds the Guinness record for most lit jack-o’-lanterns), but she wants and needs those pumpkins to turn the fairgrounds into acres of glowing gourds.
To that end, Memorable Events will host a free community pumpkin-carving event Thursday, Oct. 22, from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Cheshire Fairgrounds. Pumpkins will be provided; participants are asked to bring their own carving tools. The Stoddard PTO will host a bake sale for those who need a sugar boost to complete their jack-o’-lanterns.
People can drop off their pumpkins Friday, Oct. 23, from noon to 6 p.m., or just bring them on Saturday when they come for the festival.
“It’s been a great community effort, and a lot of it has been grassroots,” she said.
She’s also working with downtown Keene businesses to ensure they get to see a share of the day’s profits.
Some will offer discounts to those who display their entry bracelets from the fairgrounds. A few will have a presence on-site, directing festival-goers to offerings downtown. There will also be booths for local artists and craftspeople to promote their work.
And she’s gone out of her way to ensure that local nonprofit groups — many of which have depended on the annual pumpkin festival in Keene as their major fundraiser — get in on the action. Matthews has 25 booths set aside just for nonprofit groups, and they’ll be paying about $300 for the spaces, half the price they paid for a space downtown, she said.
Matthews has planned live music, a large tent filled with activities for kids, pumpkin carving and catapulting contests, a children’s costume parade and a fireworks display to close out the day’s events.
The costume contest has taken on a life of its own, she said, with people clamoring for “cosplay,” or costume play, where participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character from manga, anime, comic books, cartoons, video games, or live-action films and television series.
There will also be “larpers,” live-action role players, who act in character, interacting with one another as part of a larger performance.
The Great Pumpkin Mile road race will benefit a new Elm City Rotary Club project, which gives away pairs of new sneakers to 2nd-graders in Cheshire County. The club also puts on the annual Clarence DeMar Marathon. Sponsors have lined up to host the “The Pumpkin Mile” and donate prizes to the winners.
In addition to the road race, there’s Fright Fest, put on by the Keene Lions Club, with proceeds from that attraction going to support the club’s community outreach programs.
Then there’s the baking contest — pumpkin pies for adults to enter for competition, pumpkin breads for kids. She’s asking each participant to make two: one to judge, the other to sell, with proceeds benefiting The Community Kitchen in Keene.
And she’s promising the pumpkins will be a very visible part of the new event. She’s not giving away too many details at this point — she wants it to be something of a surprise — but there will be zigzag scaffolding to display the entries, as well as pumpkin-laden towers and structures designed by the Keene State College architecture department.
The one thing that won’t be available at the fair is alcohol. Matthews says it’s going to be a dry event, and backpacks and coolers will be subject to search by fair security guards. Those found with alcohol in their possession will be asked to leave.
The fairgrounds, being an open space, has no occupancy limit, so the crowds are limited only by the amount of parking Matthews is able to line up.
Right now, between the fairgrounds, the nearby Dillant-Hopkins Airport and the donation of parking from Moore Nanotechnology Systems, down the road from the fairgrounds, she’s got space for about 8,000 vehicles at any given time. Cost is $10 per car, with some of the proceeds going to the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention; the Cheshire Fair Association, which owns the fairgrounds property; and Rouleau’s Taekwondo school.
She expects some turnover — the folks who arrive at 10 a.m. aren’t likely to still be there 10 hours later when it wraps up — and she’s keeping her fingers crossed for good weather.
“But if social media is any indication, it’s going to be well-attended,” she said.

The Monadnock Pumpkin Festival will be held Saturday, Oct. 24, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey. Admission is $5, with children ages 5 and under free. Information: or on Facebook.