ALLARDT, Tenn. – Anticipation is building for the 22nd Annual Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off set for Saturday, October 5. Each year this event draws thousands of folks from the local area and many neighboring states for great family fun, food, and entertainment. And we always hope to see a world record pumpkin, green squash, or watermelon at the weigh-off.
Jimmy Sowers, Sanford, KY, took first place in 2012 with his 657.4 pound pumpkin. Gale Newsom and Robert Burkett, Lexington, NC, entered a winning 644.8 pound green squash, and Bill Neptune of New Concord, OH, showed a first prize watermelon weighing 266.6 pounds. In past years the weigh-off has registered local and state records for the giant vegetables.
The Oct. 5 festival gets underway at 10 a.m. (Central) with a kick-off at City Hall where Chairman Tom Potter will introduce the festival King and Queen and pageant winners.
An assortment of corn stalks, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers and other entries, will compete for recognition in addition to the giant vegetables. The Weigh-Off at the Sandy’s Diner building is set for 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Register your vegetable entries there from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. George Kilgore, a weigh-off veteran, will serve as master of ceremonies.
Bernie Murphy is revving up for the Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto Show as well as the motorcycle show. Car and motorcycle enthusiasts will have their own corners of the festival grounds with lots of shined up specimens of each to view and appreciate along with owners who will talk with you at length about their pride and joy. Antique tractors have their own area and usually show off in the 3 p.m. parade, along with the autos, always a favorite display for parade goers.
Runners start off the day at 7 a.m. (Central) at Allardt School for the Annual Pumpkin Run. This year there are 10k, 5k, and 3k runs. Get more info and an entry form at allardtpumpkinfestival.com.
Several attractions will appeal to the kids, and there will be plenty of musical entertainment on stage at City Hall. The Pumpkin Festival Parade at 3 p.m. will be led by Oneida High School Pride of the Tribe Marching Band in their orange uniforms.
“We’ve tried to keep this event something that the entire family can come and enjoy without having to spend money for admission or parking,” said Festival Chairman Potter.
For great festival food make your way to the Bruno Gernt Park where all the vendors are set up and sample a large array of sumptuous fare, from the highly sought pumpkin rolls, fried pies, pumpkin and nut breads, to the usual funnel cakes and homemade goodies brought by local church folks.
There is more substantial fare as well, tasty barbecue at the Allardt Fire Hall, “swamp cabbage,” deep fried vegetables, Italian and Polish sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, pinto beans and corn bread from vendors in the park. Top off your dining with Mayfield ice cream or treat your taste buds to the famous “pumpkin roll,” homemade and available from multiple vendors in Bruno Gernt Park.
Shop for crafts and decorative items, including handmade jewelry, quilts, afghans, Christmas decorations, wood crafts, artwork, jewelry, purses, and innumerable other items.
A variety of singers and musicians will perform on stage at City Hall, among them new faces as well as well-known favorites, beginning at 12:30 p.m. until the 3 p.m. parade. Entertainment will resume following the parade at about 4 p.m. Fireworks always top off the event at dark about 7 p.m.
Admission and parking are free. For more information see AllardtPumpkinFestival.com. And be sure to “Like” our Facebook page for frequent updates.