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Pumpkin Festival Queen with largest pumpkin (797 lbs.), 1999
1999 Pumpkin Festival Queen Martha McAnlis with 797-pound "King Pumpkin" Photo: Reed Tychonski

Barnesville Pumpkin Festival

Begun in 1964 in a Catholic church basement as the Barnesville Fall Fair, the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival emerged three years later into the streets of Barnesville, Ohio, The first festival attracted 300 people; attendance in 1999 was over 100,000 people for the four-day event. The highlight of the Festival is the "King Pumpkin" weigh-in, in which $1.00 per pound is paid to the grower of the heaviest pumpkin; the winner in 1999, tipped the scales at a record 797 pounds. "King Pumpkin" is auctioned off on Saturday night, and the highest bidder takes custody of the pumpkin for 10 days, usually displaying it at his business. Then returning to the Festival organizers, the pumpkin is gutted, and its seeds are dried and packaged to be sold at the next year's Festival.

Other Festival activities include carnival rides, a queen pageant, a classic and antique car show, entertainment on two stages, hog-calling and tobacco-spitting contests, and a giant pumpkin parade. Marking its 37th year, the 2000 event will be held on the streets of Barnesville on September 21-24. Fifty committees, comprising 300-400 people, work on the planning and implementation. Also involved in the Festival are Barnesville civic organizations and clubs, who use the event as their major annual fund-raiser.

Project documentation comprises a three-page history of the festival, a list of 1999 Ohio Pumpkin Festival Committee members, a list of "King Pumpkin" winners (1964-1999), 32 8 x 10 color photographs with descriptions, a CD with all of the above in digital format, a promotional flyer, and two videotapes (one VHS, one digital video format) of the Festival.

Originally submitted by: Robert W. Ney, Representative (18th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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