28th Annual Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off Set for Oct. 5

By Sandra Turner

It’s pumpkin time again in Allardt, Tennessee. Somewhere a giant sprawls contented in the patch, coddled and gorged, gaining 20 pounds or more every day. Patiently he waits to mount the scales for his moment of glory at Allardt’s Saturday, Oct. 5 weigh-off. Will he be the long awaited 2,000 pounder? Maybe.   

Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia state records have been broken in previous years at the Allardt GPC weigh-off for both giant pumpkins and green squash. Massive water-melons brought by world record holder Chris Kent of Sevierville have been weighed in Allardt as well. The 2018 big pumpkin winner was John Van Hook of Somerset, KY, with his 1,293 pound entry. In 2017 John and James Van Hook broke the Allardt weigh-off record as well as the state of Kentucky record with their 1,594 pound pumpkin. 

Prizes of $1000, $600, and $400 will go to the top pumpkin, watermelon, and green squash respectively, with lesser amount for 2nd through 5th place 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. (Central Time). Register your entries there from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. John Gunter, Fentress County UT Agriculture Agent, is this event’s site coordinator, and Dwight Dixon, USDA Fentress County Soil Conservation District Conservationist, will again serve as master of ceremonies. 

Thousands of festival goers will flock to this favorite fall event, drawn by giant vegetables, plus a spectacular region-wide auto show, food and craft vendors in Bruno Gernt Park, live entertainment on-stage at City Hall, a Pumpkin Run, motorcycle and tractor shows, a parade at 3 p.m. (Central),  and a children’s costume contest (10 a.m.). Pooch Parade, a dog costume contest and this year’s new event, will present at 4:30 p.m. as the final onstage program, sponsored by Best Friends Sanctuary. 

A pre-festival Great Pumpkin Beauty Pageant sponsored by Clarkrange Drug Center is set for Sept. 28 in Jamestown. See more information about entries and time schedules at the Allardt Pumpkin Festival Facebook page or allardtpumpkinfestival.com. Pumpkin Festival Chair Cathy Jeffers will officially open the festival at 10 a.m. (Central) October 5 at Allardt City Hall with introductions of the 2019 Festival King and Queen and pageant winners from the September 28 event. A costume contest sponsored by Progressive Savings Bank for children up to age 12 will follow. Register for the contest beside the stage at 9:30 a.m.   

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