Circleville Pumpkin Show Attractions In Southern Ohio
Largest Pumpkin Pie In the World, Record Broken
"The Greatest Free Show On Earth"
Circleville, Ohio - or Round Town as it is nicknamed - has taken the Fall Festival event and expanded it to four days of pumpkin-loving fun. Just about a half hour south of Columbus, Ohio on Route 23, the Circleville Pumpkin Show improves every year and draws guests that enjoy other local attractions on their visits.
An associated arts festival is highly popular and visitors love the food vendors and free recipes.
This was the spot where I first enjoyed pumpkin ice cream. The festival was the only place you could find the treat back then, but today, the large chain coffee shops have it, as well as pumpkin spice coffee, lattes, and teas and pumpkin donuts.
With the free recipes offered at the celebration, though, you can make your own. Try a pumpkin burger!
Nine City Blocks Full Of Pumpkins!
Circleville, Ohio -- "Round Town"
Historic State Route 23, North And South
A pleasant drive on State Route 23 from anywhere in Central Ohio, the Pumpkin Show is a long-time tradition that brings people into town after they have enjoyed the brilliant fall foliage of South Central Ohio at the end of October.
Friends living in the town are treated to the sights and spectacles of the festival and foliage every year and are ecstatic that they chose to live in Circleville. I love hearing them talk about it!
The Show Starting Point
Directions from Columbus, Ohio
- Take South High Street (Route 23 South) out of Columbus, about 24 miles.
- Take the US-22/OH-56 off-ramp toward Circleville/Washington C H.
- Turn left onto OH-56 E/US-22 E/W Main Street.
- Take West Main Street to Court Street and find parking.
- Walk 1 block south to the Circleville Pumpkin Show.
Directions From Cincinnati:
- Take I-71 North to Route 22 E and on into Circle, about 2 hours total trip time.
Directions From Athens:
- Take Ohio Road 56 W. North to Circleville, about 1 hour drive time.
Combine the fun!
- Any of the above trips make a good fall foliage tour, and there are many picturesque towns and cities along the routes that are interesting.
Nine City Blocks Full Of Pumpkins
The pumpkin-packed festival is held during the third week of October annually, on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday full of events, contests, music, arts, crafting, and food; all from 10AM to 11PM each day. For example, the dates in 2012 are October 17 through 20, making the show 109 years old. It all began in 1903, 100 years after Ohio first became a US State.
Back in 1903, Mayor George Haswell had the idea of a glorified Saturday farmers market with music and events to help the local farmers meet city people that would buy their wares at the end of the growing season. The special events and entertainment would draw crowds of people to help the farmers and the city prosper. His idea grew from a one-day three-block market and carnival-like event to the nine-block regional festival that is today's Pumpkin Show.
Even in 1903, though, the attractions were exiting. They included horse races, flagpole sitters (a big attraction in those days), high-wire acts, the popular high diving act of the day, magic acts, wrestlers, girl dancers, and others borrowed from the usual circus fare.
Unfortunately, they also put on a freak show. However, people loved circuses at this time and came to love the pumpkin festival just as much. A carousel and a parade were added a couple of years later and today, the Pumpkin Show features two parades every day, with a grand Pumpkin Queen's parade on Saturday. There are also about three dozen amusement rides, like a carnival.
2009 Pumpkin Champions
Since the 2010s, several entertainment stages offer music and other acts, just like the Ohio State Fair. If you miss the fair, you can go to the Pumpkin Show for hog calling and pie eating contests. You won't want to miss the Pet Parade or the Downtown Business Window Decoration Contest. either.
The Columbus Zoo folks comes to town and brings some interesting animals with them for a show. Fifty different bands participate in the parades and popular singing groups perform on the stages - pop, country, cloggers, Irish step dancing and dozens more.. Art installations and showings occur all along the nine blocks of the festival.
The show is so large now, that plans for the next year's events begin the very day after the close of the show, just like the Rose Parade.
A Look Around the SHow
Fall Foliage Sites In the Circleville Area
Wayne National Forest - Hiking, cycling,horse riding, ATVs, backpacking, primitive and developed-area camping are all allowed. Check the Weather Link before you go. Wayne National Forest: Located southeast of Logan at 13700 US Highway 33; Nelsonville OH 45764; Phone (740) 753-0101.
Tar Hollow State Park and Forest - Located a few miles east of Chillicothe at 16396 Tar Hollow Road; Laurelville, Ohio 43135; Phone (740) 887-4818. Many of the same features and activities are available here as at Wayne National Forest and Tar Hollow also has a Horse Camp. Tar Hollow is Ohio's third largest state forest.
Zaleski State Forest - Includes Lake Hope State Park across from the forest and is the second largest state forest in Ohio. It has an active sawmill for its logging interests. An annual free Fall Hike begins at Lake Hope shelter on October 20, 2012 at 10 AM with a cup of sassafras tea. After a three mile hike, guests are treated to bean soup and cornbread, and then shuttles drive you back to your car. What could be nicer on a Saturday morning? - Phone (740) 596-5253. About 12 miles away is Old Man's Cave, if you want to view additional foliage and caves, and waterfalls.
- The same night as the Fall Hike, Hocking Valley Canoe Livery offers Halloween on the Hocking, a 5-mile canoe trip on the river under the full moon. $40 per canoe includes treats, music, and a bonfire after the trip.
Other Free Festivals in South Central Ohio
- Fall Festival of Leaves in Bainbridge - Third week of October.
- Feast of the Flowering Moon in Chillicothe on Memorial Day Weekend.
- Jackson County Apple Festival* in Jackson this is a great, fun celebration of Johnny Appleseed's contribution of apple trees to Southern Ohio. - Third weekend of September.
- Parade of the Hills and Ohio State Fiddling Contest in Nelsonville - Mid-August.
- Washboard Music Festival in Logan - Mid-June in the Hocking Hills region. Hocking Hills State Park near Logan contains Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls, and other sites for fall leaf watching.
- Wild Turkey Festival in McArthur - First weekend in May; lots of music and special performers.
Free Festival Locations
© 2012 Patty Inglish
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