Normally a source of community unity and pride for residents at Keene, New Hampshire, this year's annual Pumpkinfest held on Saturday night escalated into an uncontrolled riot with liquor bottles being flung at party-goers and police, cars being overturned, and even fires being lit.
Police in riot gear arrived to pacify the scene; however, many of the witnesses said they felt extremely unsafe and most tried to go home instead of getting caught in the crossfires.
This year, over 4,000 students from nearby universities came to celebrate the Pumpkinfest where residents welcome the Fall season by attempting to set the world record for the most number of lit jack-o-lanterns.
Some visiting student made statements that although they didn't expect the rioting to grow so out of hand, they joined in on the mayhem anyway.
"The parties ended up being boring, and the riot ended up being wild. It was fun to be around," Eammon Flynn from Castleton College in Vermont told reporters.
"It's just like a rush. You're revolting from the cops. It's a blast to do things that you're not supposed to do," Steven French, a student from Haverhill, Massachusetts said.
Images of people running away from tear gas clouds, students jumping from rooftops, street signs being torn down, and law enforcement trying to disperse the crowds were uploaded to social media throughout Saturday evening and early Sunday morning. Some of those images will be reviewed by law enforcement to identify the instigators of the riots and the most serious offenders for possible arrest to be made, according to reports.
Keene State College, as well, issued a statement saying that they will cooperate with the police to help identify if any of their students were involved in the riots and hold them accountable.
Although the riots certainly dampened the good spirits the festival usually brings every year, event organizers, as well as Keen State University are optimistic that the sense of community has not been lost and they will work with law enforcement to ensure that future Pumpkinfest celebrations will be safer for visitors and residents.
To add to the restored faith in the festivities for future events, over 200 student volunteers returned to Keene on Sunday morning to help in the clean-up effort from the previous night's unruly disturbances.