Friday, October 17, 2008

The Milton Pumpkin Festival

Milton, West Virginia is home to the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival, which was started in 1985 and held on October 2nd through the 5th. The event draws about 60,000 people annually, so it's quite a big deal around here, and very popular.

This was my first time coming out to the festival, and E and I had a blast, going both the first and the last day.

Once arriving at WV Pumpkin Park, we were greeted by a large smiling pumpkin, who we've affectionately dubbed 'Mr. Punkin.' The event is fairly affordable, with parking costs at $1, and entrance at $5 for adults.



There was a lot to see and do, with live entertainment, giant pumpkins being auctioned off, sheep shearing, karaoke, chainsaw art and more. The pumpkin auction is probably one of the biggest attractions at the festival, and is for a wonderful cause. The money raised is in fact used to award 3 $2000 scholarships to local students, which is presented to the winners at the end of the auction.

Not only were there several crafts and food vendors, but many had interesting displays and set-ups showing how their product was made. There were folks selling freshly roasted corn on the cob (a definite favorite of E's), which was bright, smoky and creamy.

A couple of gentleman were making and selling sugar popcorn - they were really sweet, and it was fun watching them make it.

Lincoln County FFA students were selling their Sorghum Molasses, which was really interesting. As a project, the students cultivated it through planting, cutting, harvesting and cooking.



Having made 150-250 gallons, the molasses was sold to raise money to send the kids to a national convention.





Of course, being a fall festival, there were plenty of pumpkins, gourds and scarecrows for sale. We didn't pick any up, but we had fun looking at all the different varieties up for grabs.

I loved the sign at this booth, and couldn't help but smile at its adorableness!

We did pick up some pumpkin donuts, a pumpkin roll, 2 quarts of sugar-free apple butter, some marinated green tomatoes, several varieties of mustard, some cheeseball mixes, spiced pecans and some green pepper pickled relish.

We also picked up a couple of crafts that are perfect for Christmas, including a Marshall University snowman wreath that I can't wait to hang up. GO HERD!



This booth made stone ground cornmeal and flour, and it was really interesting to see the process. It seems like a lot of hard work, and made me that much more appreciative for the conveniences that modern life affords me!

Also, there were several participants who had 'booths' that were focused on what life was like in the times of the pioneers.



Not only was it interesting to see, but it was really fun seeing how the various children at the festival reacted to the unfamiliar, and participated.





I also had my first honest-to-goodness American corn dog - it was definitely different from the ones back home! It was almost sweet in some ways, with a really crisp outside and smooth interior.

We had a great time, and if nothing else, the festival allowed us to meet some great people, enjoy some delicious food, and reminded us of our connection to the earth, and where food really comes from.



I think that for me, the best part of the festival was spending time in the crisp fall air with E, walking and talking and just sharing the memory.
I can't wait for next year!

3 comments:

Donna said...

Thank you so much for sharing what seems like an incredible 2 days. You made the festival come alive for me and I could almost feel like I was there too. You really should start a scrapbook of your blogs and adventures. It would make a great memory to look back on years down the road.

E said...

That was a fun weekend!

Who ever took that amazing photo of a bee must be an astute and highly gifted photographer. :)

Donna said...
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