Rural Missouri Magazine

Busting with pumpkins
October is pumpkin festival time

by Bob McEowen

Nothing says fall has arrived like a field of pumpkins. Whether it’s their cheery orange color or memories of carving the Halloween jack-o’-lantern, pumpkins are the star of the show at harvest festivals and fairs around the state.

The pumpkins on our cover are ripening in preparation for the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival, Oct. 9 and 10. The annual event fills this tiny Missouri River community with food, entertainment and crafts vendors. Various artisans, including blacksmiths and weavers, also demonstrate their crafts. For more information call (573) 657-4556.

On Oct. 2, farmers will be vying for bragging rights as Republic hosts The Great Missouri Pumpkin Weigh-Off, as part of that community’s annual Pumpkin Daze festival. A state record 647-pound pumpkin was displayed there in an earlier contest, part of a national effort to find the biggest pumpkin. For more information call (417) 732-3356.

Not to be outdone, St. Joseph’s Pumpkin Fest (shown at left) boasts a Great Pumpkin Wall, lit with more than 800 jack-o’-lanterns. The festival, held Oct. 8-10 near the Pony Express Museum at 914 Penn St., includes a children’s costume parade, a carnival and a petting zoo. For more information call (816) 279-5059 or log onto


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