Fall in Ohio means harvest time and in Circleville that means the pumpkin. If you are looking for giant pumpkins or pumpkins to carve or bake pies, there is no better place to go than to one of the nation’s largest and oldest pumpkin festivals – the 114th Circleville Pumpkin Show, October 21-24 (Wednesday through Saturday) in Circleville, Ohio just 25 miles south of Columbus in central Ohio.
The Circleville Pumpkin Show dates back to the turn of the 20th century and is credited as the idea of then Mayor George Haswell. It was in 1903 when Mayor Haswell organized a small display in front of the waterworks office on West Main Street.
His original idea was to provide an opportunity for farmers to come to town, besides their annual trip to pay their taxes, to exhibit their produce since there was no county fair at the time. That first occasion occupied 30 feet of table space along the dusty unpaved street.
The Mayor had also invited the Old Yellowbud Band to perform, so the first parade was formed. Everyone came dressed up to view the biggest pumpkin and see what kind of corn, beans, and other vegetables the neighbor on the adjoining farm was growing.
While the Circleville Pumpkin Show has grown to cover more than nine city blocks in downtown Circleville, it is still dedicated to promoting the agriculture and business of this community.
More than 100,000 pounds of pumpkins, squash and gourds are featured in street displays. There are also displays of canned goods, baked goods, a flower show, arts and crafts, fruits and vegetables, and a fine art show.
The Circleville Pumpkin Show attracts over 400,000 visitors to this small Central Ohio community of just over 13,000 people. Visitors from all 50 states and many foreign countries come to see the giant pumpkins, parades, entertainment, contests, and sample all the pumpkin flavored delicacies.
Each year the Circleville Pumpkin Show opens with area pumpkin growers vying for the coveted Giant Pumpkin Champion Trophy and $3,000 for the first prize winner from the Pumpkin Show and the Concessionaires who come each year to the Show. The Giant Pumpkin Weigh In will begin at 9:15 AM on Wednesday, October 21.
The current Giant Pumpkin record at the Circleville Pumpkin Show is 1,964 pounds grown by Circleville’s Robert and Jo Liggett for the 2014 Pumpkin Show. The 2019 winning pumpkin, also grown by Robert and Jo Liggett, weighed in at 1,421.5 pounds and was their 13th winning giant pumpkin.
Bakers at Lindsey’s Bakery in Circleville will continue their 60-plus year tradition of making one of the world’s largest pumpkin pies during the Pumpkin Show. Last year’s pumpkin pie weighed over 400 pounds and stretched 6 feet in diameter. The pie takes 6 hours to bake, is cooled for 6 hours, and then displayed at the bakery during the four-day pumpkin extravaganza.
What started as a gathering of local farmers proudly displaying their crops is now an event which is reportedly Ohio’s oldest and largest festival and has been called “The Greatest Free Show on Earth.” There is no admission fee, so anyone can come and enjoy the Show.
The Circleville Pumpkin Show is filled with family entertainment including live music, 7 parades, each with a different theme, and over 400 booths offering food, retail, games and crafts for sale. In addition to its Miss Pumpkin Show Contest, the Pumpkin Show also features fun, crowd-pleasing contests including Pumpkin Pie Eating for both kids and adults, Big Wheel Racing for 4 & 5-year-olds, a Pet Parade and contest, and entertainment on several stages throughout the event.
For the sixth year, we are proud to host the Lima Company Memorial, “The Eyes of Freedom,” a very powerful tribute to the Lima Company, 3rd Battalion and 25th Marine Regiment which was one of the most heavily engaged combat units in the Iraq War. During it 2005 deployment, 22 Marines and 1 Navy Corpsman gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation and this memorial honors those heroes.
For the fourth year Pumpkin Show will be hosting The Spirit of America’s Story, The Wall, a traveling exhibit commemorating our Country’s Fight for Freedom from 1775 to the present. The Wall is a richly illustrated visual story of America’s struggles for freedom, a visual walk through our country’s history and our fight to be free. The goal is to capture and preserve the spirit, the sacrifices and rich history of the American people. Both displays will be located at Memorial Hall at the corner of Main Street and Pickaway Street.
Many 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 thousands of pumpkin pies and over 100,000 pumpkin donuts sold during the four days. So, visit our many food vendors for these pumpkin delicacies.
So, come join us for the “Greatest Free Show on Earth,” the Circleville Pumpkin Show! For more information on the Circleville Pumpkin Show, please call 740-474-7000 or go to our website at www.pumpkinshow.com.
Editor’s note: As we go to print, we have been advised that this year’s Circleville Pumpkin Show has been cancelled. Mark your calendar to attend the 2021 show, October 20-23.