Allardt Celebrates the 30-Year Anniversary
of the Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off, Oct. 2
It’s pumpkin time again in Allardt. Somewhere a giant sprawls in the patch, coddled and gorged, gaining 20 pounds or more every day. Patiently he waits to mount the scales at Allardt’s Saturday, Oct. 2 weigh-off. Will he be the long awaited 2,000 pounder? Maybe.
This year George Killgore will return to the weigh-off site to join County Executive Jimmy Johnson, in officially renaming the Weigh-off in honor of its founder, the late James Asberry. The ceremony is set for 9:30 am at Sandy's Diner in Allardt. George was master of ceremonies for the weigh-off for many years while he served as University of Tennessee Extension, Fentress County Director (1976 – 2003).
Businessman and farmer, the late Jim Asberry actually started the fever to grow giant pumpkins in this area when he grew a 716.5 pound pumpkin in 1991, the largest ever recorded in the state of Tennessee at that time.
From that year – when the first weigh-off was held at what was then Asberry's Store – the game was on and growers began their quest to grow ever bigger and heavier giant pumpkins. The festival committee is thankful for Ms. Nina Asberry and her family for their unsurpassed contribution to this festival, which so many people from across Tennessee and neighboring states love and look forward to every year.
Prize money for the first place pumpkin and watermelon entries will double to $2000 and $1000 respectively for the 30th annual event. Lesser amounts will go to 2nd through 5th place winners. An assortment of green squash, bushel gourds, corn stalks, potatoes, tomatoes, sunflowers and other entries will compete for recognition also.
In 2020 Bruce Terry of Helenwood, TN, broke the Allardt Weigh-off record with a 1731.8 pound pumpkin. Frank Mudd of Flaherty, KY, took first place prize for his
Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, and 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 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, Fentress County Farm Bureau, Fentress County Soil Conservation District, and R&T Trophy, Representative John Mark Windle, Representative Kelly Keisling, and Senator Ken Yager, and County Executive Jimmy Johnson.
Pumpkin Festival Chairman Cathy Jeffers will officially open the festival at 10 a.m. (Central) at Allardt City Hall with introductions of the 2021 King and Queen and the Pumpkin Festival Pageant winners.
Stephen Williams spearheads the Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto Show. Register your entry 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, One Bank, NAPA Auto Parts, and Dave Kirk Automotive
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.
Free registration from 8 a.m. until noon Central time at Allardt Land Company. All motorcycles are welcome and encouraged to participate in the 3 p.m. parade.
The day starts off with the Pumpkin Run at Allardt School. Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Line-up is 7:45 to 8:00 a.m. with start time at 8:00 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 Tim Tebow Foundation. Entry forms are available at Hall Family Pharmacy. Register the morning of the run or online at https://greatpumpkinfestivalpumpkinrun.itsyourrace.com
The Antique Tractor Show is set for 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Central Time behind Allardt Land Company at the Gernt Lumber Yard. ALL antique tractors are welcome and encouraged to participate in the parade. Event chairman is Wesley Anderson. Sponsored by Anderson Farm Services.
Pumpkin Pie & Roll Contest - Registration Saturday from 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Central Time at the Allardt Fire Hall. The $10 entry fee will go to the Allardt Volunteer Fire Department with the actual desserts being served with the BBQ meals purchased at the Fire Hall. Prizes: 1st place $100, 2nd place $50, and 3rd place $25 in each of the two contests. Contest for homemade only pies and rolls. Event chairman – Amanda Hicks. Sponsored by Amanda Hicks, Candidate for Fentress County Clerk.
Children’s Costume Contest 10:00 a.m. to noon Central Time at Allardt City Hall Stage. FREE registration from 9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. outside City Hall. Categories: Ages 0-2 years; 3-5 years; 6-8 years; 9-12 years; and group. Any costume theme acceptable. No live animals, please. Sponsored and conducted by Smart Bank.
Pumpkin Festival Parade – 3:00 p.m. The parade is always a highlight of the day and one of the largest parades of the year for Fentress County. As usual, parade entries will line up on the Baseline Road. To line up, follow Highway 52 E from Allardt past the orange water tower to the Les Franklin Road. Turn left at the Les Franklin Road. Then enter the Baseline Road from the Les Franklin Road only. George Killgore will be the Grand Marshal for the 2021 parade.The deadline for entries is noon Thursday, Sept. 30. Call Ashley Bilbrey at 397-0300 to register and for additional information.
Musical entertainment on stage at Allardt City Hall will begin at 12:00 with Gary Anderson. Jeff Crouch will appear at 1:00. Appearing 2:00 – 2:45 – Tim Ledbetter & Charles Beaty. From 3:00 to 3:30 the program will break for the parade. Southern Comfort is set for 4:00 and Higher Ground at 5:00. William Bilbrey is entertainment chairman.
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. 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.
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.
Weigh-off and Festival Event Sponsors and Contributors:
Allardt Real Estate Co., Amanda Hicks, Candidate for Fentress County Clerk, Anderson Farm Services, City of Jamestown, Clarkrange Drug Center, County Executive Jimmy Johnson, Dave Kirk Automotive, Dr. Dilip Joshi, Fentress County Ambulance Service, Fentress County Chamber of Commerce, Fentress County EMA, Fentress County Farm Bureau, Fentress County Soil Conservation District, Fentress County Sheriff's Dept., Fentress Farmers Cooperative, First Volunteer Bank, Hall Family Pharmacy, Jimtown Florist, Micro Metals, Inc., NAPA Auto Parts, One Bank, O'Reilly Auto Parts, R&T Trophy, Representative John Mark Windle, Representative Kelly Keisling, Senator Ken Yager, Smart Bank, TN Department of Transportation, TN Highway Patrol, Top of the Hill Properties, Twin Lakes Telephone Coop, Union Bank