Central display of pumpkins, squash, and gourds on N. Court Street
Circleville Pumpkin Show
The Circleville Pumpkin Show always begins the 3rd Wednesday in October and runs through Saturday. The Pumpkin Show got its start in 1903 when George Haswell, Mayor of Circleville, was also Superintendent of the Water Works & had an office on West Main Street. He decided that it would be a great idea to try to get the country folks and city folks together so he invited the country folks to bring the best of their produce to town on the designated dates & display them on the streets of Circleville so that the city folks would be able to appreciate their efforts. That first show covered about 3 city blocks and has been going steady ever since. Today Circleville Pumpkin festival covers more than 8 city blocks.
If you've never been to the festival before, it is like nothing else. Crowds of people from all over the state converge on Circleville. Things start out slow on Wednesday morning with the weigh-in and then builds to a crescendo on Saturday. Saturday afternoon has traffic backed up for miles trying to get to round-town.
With your first visit to the Circleville Pumpkin Show you'll discover that there's more than one way to present normal carnival foods: there's the normal way and then there's the Pumpkin Show way. You've got pumpkin chili, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin burgers, just about everything can be had with a flavoring of pumpkin. There is also a huge pumpkin pie that measures about 6 feet in diameter and over 100,000 pumpkins will be sold during the 4 day event.
Now, you might think that all this pumpkin stuff would get, well, would get to be too much. But that's one of the amazing things about the festival: it doesn't. It seems like one of the most natural things in the world. Besides all the pumpkin related food items, there's plenty of rides scattered all through the blocked off streets. There's also plenty of vendors selling just about anything you can imagine.
And speaking of the world, the Circleville Pumpkin Show has received world-wide publicity. It has been featured on Japanese television and magazines, German newspapers, Stars and Stripes, NBC Today, publications from Our Weekly Reader, National Geographic and most of the major publications in the United States. Each year the festival attracts people from all over the world.
Pumpkin pie eating contest
If you don't like crowds, you probably shouldn't wait until the last day (especially if it's a beautiful fall day). Go earlier in the week. If you do mind the crowds, by all means go early on Saturday. There's something going on just about every minute of the day.
Like they say: "It's the Greatest Free Show in the World!"
One of the biggest features of the show are the giant pumpkins. Each year these monsters just keep getting bigger and are now approaching the 1 ton mark. Cash prizes are awarded for the heaviest pumpkin, and the prettiest. Entries are limited to a maximum of 2 entries from the same patch, and that patch must be within 21 miles of Circleville. Judged pumpkins cannot have been entered in any other competition. Even with all these restrictions, the Circleville Pumpkin show still attracts some of the largest pumpkins in the world.
2007- 2008Pumpkin Show Winner
Robert Liggett's pumpkin tipped the scales at just over 1,524 pounds. Robert's big squash entry was just 1 of 22. Not only did Robert win the biggest of show, but it also set a new record for the biggest pumpkin in Ohio. The old record was 1,521 pounds set in 2004 by guess who? Robert Liggett! Robert certainly knows what it takes to grow pumpkins. Just about all the contestants told of how difficult this year's growing season was for growing pumpkins. A shortage of rainfall meant that serious pumpkin growers had to provide plenty of additional water. Up to around 300 gallons a day.
2008 Pumpkin Show Winner
Robert Liggett again won the biggest pumpkin of the show, but the overall weight was down from last year's record setter. This year's weight of 1,375.5 pounds was big enough to win, but set no records. Once again, weather conditions, including hail and a hurricane caused contestants problems.
2009 Pumpkin Show Winner
Robert Liggett is an old hand at winning the big pumpkin prize. Once again Dr. Liggett won the 2009 award with a monster weighing in at 1636.5 pounds. Although this was a new record for Circleville, it was just 88.5 pounds short of a world record captured by another Ohio family from Canton this year.
Video of 2009 Pumpkin Show
Weigh-in "Top 10" Pumpkins
Circleville is located in about 30 miles south of Columbus, just off of SR23 where SR22 crosses. The show is free and you can join the party from just about anywhere. There's usually plenty of parking not too far away, and most of the time it's about $5.00 a car, but there are some homes and businesses real close to the festivities that charge a little bit more.
Circleville is located in Pickaway County.
Begins on the 3rd Wednesday of October and runs 4 days through the following Saturday.
Pumpkin Show Times
The show opens at 10:00 AM Wed thru Saturday and closes around 10:00 PM or so.
Our Favorite Pumpkin Grower
Optometrist, Dr. Robert P. Liggett, O.D., has become a perennial big pumpkin winner in the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Here's a little information about the good doctor:
Robert was born in Ripley where he graduated from high school before attending The Ohio State University where he received his Doctor of Optometry, which he has been practicing in Circleville since 1964. Dr. Liggett is a member of the Circleville Elks, the Circleville Rotary and a member of the Circleville-Pickaway Chamber of Commerce.
His wife Jo and him have 5 children that all live in the area.