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Take The Kids to Ohio's Pumpkin Festival This Fall

More than 400,000 visitors travel to Ohio for one of the nation's largest festivals

Nothing symbolizes the arrival of autumn more than pumpkins. And if you're looking for pumpkins with a flair of homespun Americana, there's no better place to go than to one of the nation's largest pumpkin festivals—the 98th Circleville Pumpkin Show, October 20-23 in Circleville, Ohio (25 miles south of Columbus in central Ohio).

The Circleville Pumpkin Show attracts over 400,000 visitors to this small Midwest community of 13,000 people. Visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries come to see giant pumpkins, parades, entertainment, contests and sample pumpkin-flavored delicacies. Reportedly Ohio's oldest and largest festival, this extravaganza has been called "The Greatest Free Show on Earth."


The Circleville Pumpkin Show kicks off with area pumpkin growers vying for the coveted Giant Pumpkin Champion trophy (often described as Circleville's answer to the Stanley Cup). The current Giant Pumpkin record at the Circleville Pumpkin Show is 950 pounds, grown by Chillicothe's Dean Park in 2003. Pumpkin fans hope this year's winning pumpkin will tip the scales over 1,000 pounds.

Bakers at Lindsey's Bakery in Circleville will continue their 51-year tradition of making one of the world's largest pumpkin pies during the Pumpkin Show. Last year's pumpkin pie weighed over 350 pounds and stretched 5 feet in diameter and took more than 80 pounds of cooked pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 13 gallons of milk, 12 dozen eggs, three pounds of cornstarch, one pound pumpkin spice, 1 pound of salt and 30 pounds of pie dough. The pie was baked for 6 hours, cooled for 6 hours and then displayed at the bakery during the four-day pumpkin extravaganza. This year's pumpkin pie is expected to be even larger, but owner Katie Miller is keeping that recipe under close wraps until this year's show.


The Circleville Pumpkin Show is filled with family entertainment including live music, seven parades (each with a different theme), amusement rides and over 300 food booths, games and craft vendors. In addition to its Pumpkin Show Queens pageants, the Pumpkin Show also features fun, crowd-pleasing contests including Pumpkin Pie Eating, Pumpkin Tossing, Hog Calling, Big Wheel Racing, Egg Tossing and a pet contest.

Most of the foods at the Circleville Pumpkin Show are pumpkin-related: pumpkin pies, donuts, cookies, burgers, pizza, tacos, chili, elephant ears, pancakes, taffy, ice cream, cake, waffles, cream puffs, fudge, brownies and many other pumpkin treats. There are approximately 23,000 pumpkin pies and over 100,000 pumpkin donuts sold during the four-day show.

The Circleville Pumpkin Show covers more than eight city blocks in downtown Circleville. More than 100,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash and gourds are featured in street displays. There are also displays of canned goods, baked goods, flower show, fruits and vegetables and an art show.

The Pumpkin Show is so popular it has developed its own song, "The Punkin Show." Members of the local Kiwanis Club perform it each year at the opening ceremony of the Pumpkin Show.

A landmark that is unique to Circleville is the Pumpkin Water Tower. The city's famed pumpkin is proudly painted on the one-million-gallon water tower using 1,300 gallons of paint. A stem was also added for authenticity.

Circleville is approximately 25 miles south of Columbus (in central Ohio). It is also home to Wittich's Candy store, the oldest family-owned confectionary in Ohio (created in 1840). Visitors can savor hand-dipped chocolates and ice cream at the old-fashion soda fountain. Ohio's Small Town Museum is located north of Circleville in nearby Ashville. This must-see museum has been nationally recognized on Oprah and is an eclectic collection of small-town memorabilia. Further north in South Bloomfield is Renick's Market Farm Market, a site on the National Register of Historic Places. During the fall, Renick's Market hosts bluegrass concerts, corn roasts and build your own scarecrow projects. Complete a visit to Ohio with an overnight stay at nearby Deer Creek State Park Lodge (west of Circleville) or rent out the Harding Cabin (once a presidential retreat). This family destination also offers hiking, biking, swimming, fishing and boating.

For more information about Ohio's unique festivals or fall family travel destinations, visit www.DiscoverOhio.com or call 1-800-BUCKEYE

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