BY DIANA VERDE | PHOTOS BY JACK MADER
The Fall Retreat You Need This Year!
During my many attempts to live my best Ohioan life, I discovered the Circleville Pumpkin Show in the fall of 2018. Though maybe “discovered” is a strong word… in reality, my friends were like, “Hey, want to go to the Pumpkin Show?” and I was like, “I don’t know what that is but OK!”
So off we went in my car to the Pumpkin Show, escaping from campus on a Thursday night (by the way, YES to going out on weeknights) to a city 40 minutes south of campus that has the cutest name I’ve ever heard. I remember the drive there: fall in the air, early sunsets, the sweet sounds of the “A Star is Born” soundtrack on repeat, and great conversations with friends about our embarrassing high school days. The entire trip felt nostalgic… Well, except for the 30 minutes it took us to find a parking spot, which reminds me; get there early and carpool with friends!
For context, according to the Pumpkin Show’s website, it’s known as the “Greatest Free Show On Earth” and is the 6th largest festival in the United States. GO OHIO! Over 400,000 people are expected to come to Circleville this year and I can honestly understand why. With fun parades twice a day (including a pet parade that I cannot begin to explain my hype-ness for), endless amounts of food, carnival rides, live music, and homemade items for sale, the Pumpkin Show isn’t just about pumpkins. It’s about celebrating community after all of the hard work that was put into growing them. And let me tell you right now, the pumpkins are freaking amazing!
The stars of the show are lined up on gingham-covered tables arranged from small to large. You’ll see teeny-tiny pumpkins that you’d use to decorate your dining table in an attempt to be bougie, albino pumpkins that make you marvel at genetic diversity (am I the only nerd who goes wild for these ones?), your standard jack-o’-lantern perfect pumpkins, and award-winning-marvelously giant pumpkins that are covered in imperfect lines and colored dots. And I’m not kidding about the award-winning bit because the largest pumpkin wins first prize. (According to their website, the largest pumpkin last year weighed a gobsmacking 1,607 pounds!) There’s also a pumpkin pie that–get this–has an EIGHT FOOT diameter. Sign me UP!
The festival is always the third Wednesday through Saturday in October, which means that this year it runs October 16-19, and I’m telling you, even on the Thursday night that I went, it was a ton of fun and fairly packed. So be prepared to have a jolly time celebrating the best parts of fall: food, community, and cool weather. I don’t think I’ve seen anything more American™ than the Pumpkin Show in Circleville. So if you love any or all of these things, I promise you will have a great time:
- Marching bands (TBDBITL will not be there, but there are plenty of other great local bands)
- Hot drinks to warm your hands as the temps dip below 40 for the first time
- Local vendors selling cute handmade necklaces and crystals
- PUMPKIN FLAVORED EVERYTHING
If you do one Fall™ thing this year, let it be the Circleville Pumpkin Show. The only thing you might regret is that food coma you’re sure to get afterwards.
This year’s Circleville Pumpkin Show will take place Wednesday, October 16 through Saturday, October 19.