PICKAWAY COUNTY, Ohio (Pickaway Cultivator) – No Pumpkin Show? Such a thing hasn’t been heard of since the World Wars back in the twentieth century. With this year’s COVID-19 situation, a lot of events have been put on hold, rescheduled, or even canceled – and one of those events was the 2020 Circleville Pumpkin Show.
Despite not having a show this year, the Circleville Giant Pumpkin Growers group is still continuing on… and a Pumpkin weigh-off is still planned to happen on the same day at the same time as it would have happened during the actual Pumpkin Show. Since growers start growing their giant pumpkins around April 23rd, they were already well into growing their pumpkins when Pumpkin Show was canceled.
Pumpkin Show aside, the Circleville Giant Pumpkin Growers are still doing other things to encourage growers to keep doing their thing… which consists of other contests that include prizes for the different winners of each category.
“We have about 50 members in our club but 18 people decided that they would try to grow pumpkin this year,” Bob Liggett shared when asked about the Circleville Giant Pumpkin Growers.
The Circleville Giant Pumpkin Growers have a chance to participate in contests such as the Charlie Brown contest, where seeds are given away with instructions on how to grow them. The top three pumpkins win prize money from the club.
Other contests involve encouraging growers to grow their pumpkins as close to a certain weight as possible, all without going over. Starting at 200 pounds, they go all the way up to 800 pounds – seeing which growers can get close to the weights as possible without going under.
The Pretty Pumpkin Award is held in memory of Nancy Martin, one of the earliest pumpkin growers in the group and a former Trustee member of the Pumpkin Show. Nancy was known for using genetics that would grow beautiful orange pumpkins, which she preferred over the usual giant white ones seen. Nancy passed away from ALS and this contest is held in memory of her.
“One of the other things that we did this year, crazy, [was] we started a small patch contest,” Bob explained, going on to add: “A person that would mark out 250 square feet and the person that grew the largest pumpkin in that area would get a prize.”
The Small Patch contest was started with those who lived in town in mind, as the small backyards wouldn’t be big enough to grow some of the massive pumpkins you see.
One of the last contests they hold is the Snoopy Contest, which runs at the same time as the Charlie Brown contest.
Their contests, however, go beyond just the members in their group. They also offer contests and prize money for those involved in the science fair.
“One of the other things that we do is we sponsor prizes, a couple of prizes for the science fair for individuals that have a science project on growing,” Bob said. “You know, they can show that by adding something to the soil, seeds, or plants grow better, you know, things that enhance growth.”
While this encourages the educational side of things, the hope is that this gets them excited about pumpkin growing one day.
“They can know that part of their prize money came from the pumpkin growers, and they may think, ‘Well, maybe I might try that pumpkin someday,'” Bob admits.
While things this year look different, the Circleville Pumpkin Growers have a lot planned to continue encouraging their growers and new growers that are looking to join.
Interested in becoming a member? All that is needed is your name, address, email address, and a $5 check made out to the Circleville Giant Pumpkin Growers.