It’s pumpkin time in Tennessee. And yes, the great pumpkin will make his appearance once again at the 2020 Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off on Saturday, Oct. 3.
To promote safety, we will be following the June 2020 Tennessee Pledge – Guidelines for Attractions, Large Venues, & Large Community Events – providing hand sanitizer stations, spacing vendors for social distancing, and recommending face masks as appropriate.
Many other weigh-off events around the nation have been canceled for this year, and growers are seeking opportunities to show off their giant pumpkins, green squash, and watermelons for world record consideration. We are anticipating some record-breaking entries.
Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama state records have been broken in previous years at the Allardt GPC weigh-off for both giant pumpkins and green squash. Massive watermelons brought by world record holder Chris Kent of Sevierville have been weighed in Allardt as well.
The 2019 big pumpkin winner was Jason Terry of Oneida with his 1,491-pound entry. Spencer Glasgow of Bessemer, AL, won the 2019 watermelon weigh-off with a 321 lb. entry that broke the Alabama state record. John Brooks of Ronda, NC, won first place in his category with a 625 lb. green squash.
Prizes of $1000, $600, and $400 will go to the top pumpkin, watermelon, and green squash respectively, with lesser amount for 2nd through 5th place winners. An assortment of corn stalks, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers and other entries will compete for recognition also.
The weigh-off at the Sandy’s Diner building is set for 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. (Central Time). Register your entries there from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. John Gunter, Fentress County UT Agriculture Agent, is site coordinator, and Dwight Dixon, USDA Fentress County Soil Conservation District Conservationist, will again serve as master of ceremonies. Sponsors include Dr. Dilip Joshi, Clarkrange Drug Center and Quality Family of Companies.
Festival goers can enjoy a spectacular region-wide Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto Show, plus a Motorcycle Show, food and craft vendors in Bruno Gernt Park, live entertainment on-stage at City Hall, a Pumpkin Run at 7 a.m., and a parade at 3 p.m. (Central). The Allardt Fire Hall will be serving barbecue as usual at lunch time.
Pumpkin Festival Chairman Cathy Jeffers will officially open the festival at 10 a.m. (Central) at Allardt City Hall with introductions of the 2020 Festival Royalty.
Jake Hoot, Winner Season 17 NBC’s show “The Voice,” will headline the entertainment with a concert on stage at Allardt City Hall from 12 noon to 1 p.m. He will be followed by Ashley Hepperly from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. William Bilbrey (Millenium Sound) is entertainment coordinator.
Stephen Williams spearheads the Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto Show, sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts. Register your entry for $10 from 8 a.m. until noon at the 4-way stop in Allardt. Entries can expect lots of prizes, awards, and cash giveaways. The auto show is sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts.
The Motorcycle Show, coordinated by Jeremy Blevins and sponsored by Scott and Mary Alice Edwards and Top of the Hill Properties, will also present trophies and prizes. Thanks to the sponsor, NO Entry Fee for cycles this year. Presentations of awards for both shows will take place at 2 p.m.
Registration for the Pumpkin Run begins at 7 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Oct. 3 at Allardt School. Line-up is 7:45 to 8 a.m. with start time at 8 a.m. Categories of entry are 10K run, 5K run, 3K, and 1 mile Fun Run. Entry fee is $15 for the 10k, 5K, and 3k, ($40 for family 3+ entries) and $10 for the 1 mile Fun Run. The event is sponsored by Hall Family Pharmacy to benefit the Pat Summitt Foundation. Entry forms are available at Hall Family Pharmacy. Participants can register the morning of the run.
The Pumpkin Festival Parade, set for 3 p.m. (Central) is always a highlight of the day and one of the largest parades of the year for Fentress County. The deadline for entries is noon Thursday, October 1. Call Ashley Bilbrey at 397-0300 to register and for additional information.
Your favorite crafts and food vendors will be set up in Bruno Gernt Park and directly behind the park at the FCBE Alternative School, all day. The Vendor Park will have additional space between vendors and proposed one-way routing for foot traffic. All vendors set up anywhere in Allardt and who have not paid the fee are asked to purchase a vendor's permit for $25 at Allardt City Hall and keep it at their site during the festival. The permit verifies that vendors have helped support the festival by their contribution toward festival expenses. The vendor park is sponsored by Micro Metals and Top of the Hill Properties. Cathy Jeffers is vendor park chairman.
Several regular events from past festivals have been cut this year, but will be restored in 2021. These include Pumpkin Festival Beauty Pageants, Children's Costume Contest, Pooch Parade, Antique Tractor Show, and Homemade Pumpkin Pie and Pumpkin Roll Contest. These event chairmen and volunteers decided it would be too difficult to follow the Tennessee safety guidelines for their specific workers and spectators.
The Fireworks display has been permanently eliminated from the line-up because of the danger of fire during dry spells and stress on livestock and other animals in the area.
We ask all those attending to take recommended precautions for health and safety, including social distancing (staying six feet apart and following one-way routing for foot traffic), regular use of hand sanitizer, and face masks in crowded areas. And if you have doubts about being in large outdoor crowds during this time, please skip this year and rejoin us in 2021.
Weigh-off and Festival Event Sponsors and Contributors:
Allardt Real Estate Association, LLC, City of Allardt, City of Jamestown, Clarkrange Drug Center, Dilip Joshi, M.D., Fentress County Farm Bureau, Fentress County Soil Conservation District, Fentress County Chamber of Commerce, Fentress Courier, First Volunteer Bank, Hall Family Pharmacy, Jimtown Florist, Micro Metals Inc., Moody’s Automotive, O’Reilly Auto Parts, One Bank, Quality Family of Companies, Representative John Mark Windle, Senator Ken Yager, Top of the Hill Properties, Union Bank, and UT Extension Service.