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26th Annual Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off Set for Oct. 7
For the 26th year the city of Allardt, Tenn., awaits the arrival of the Great Pumpkin at its Saturday, October 7 festival and weigh-off. Throngs of festival goers, giant vegetable fans, and car show enthusiasts will flock to enjoy this favorite fall event, highlighted by the weighing of enormous pumpkins, watermelons, and green squash.
Jaw-dropping giant pumpkins have marked previous weigh-offs, breaking records for both the Allardt weigh-off and the State of Tennessee. But fans still await the 2,000 pounder. Will it arrive this year?
Jason Terry, Oneida, TN, took top honors in 2016 with a pumpkin tipping the scales at 1472 lbs. Second place winners were Dwight and Karen Slone of Prestonburg, KY, with a 1421.5 lbs. contender. Third place went to Malissa Bess of Smithville, TN, whose pumpkin weighed 543.5 lbs.
The 2017 Allardt Weigh-Off at the Sandy’s Diner building is set for 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. with registration from 8 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. Dwight Dickson will again serve as master of ceremonies. Allardt is a GPC weigh-off site offering $1000, $600, and $400 prizes for the top pumpkin, watermelon, and green squash respectively. An assortment of other vegetables will compete for weight and size awards as well.
A region-wide favorite is the Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto and Motorcycle Show, attracting hundreds of gorgeous entries. In addition there are antique tractors, crafts and food vendors, a costume contest, live singers and musicians on stage at City Hall, a parade led by the winning pumpkin, and fireworks to cap off the day.
Officially the event begins at 10 a.m. (Central) October 7 at Allardt City Hall with introductions for the 2017 Festival King and Queen and beauty pageant winners. A costume contest sponsored by Progressive Savings Bank for children up to age 12 will follow at City Hall. Register for the contest at 9:30 a.m.
On stage at City Hall, entertainment starts at 12:30 p.m. to run until the 3 p.m. parade. Singers and musicians resume following the parade at about 4 p.m. Fireworks always top off the event at dark, about 7 p.m. William Bilbrey (Millenium Sound) is entertainment coordinator.
Stephen Williams, assisted by the York Institute Cheerleaders, spearheads the Clyde and Zelia Stephens Memorial Auto and Motorcycle Show, sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts and Fitzgerald Glider Kits. Registration is from 8 a.m. until noon at the 4-way stop in Allardt. Entries will enjoy lots of prizes, awards, and cash giveaways. Antique tractor exhibitors will gather near the auto show and participate along with autos in the 3 p.m. parade. Dustin Garrett and Bryan Edwards, assisted by Levi Buttrey, will coordinate the tractor show, sponsored by Twin Lakes Lawn and Tractor and Norris Super Cycle, both of Rickman; L & A Truck Repair, Clarkrange; and Garrett Tractor Repair and Restoration, Jamestown.
Runners start off the day at 7 a.m. (Central) at Allardt School for the annual Pumpkin Run. This year there are 10k, 5k, and 3k runs and a one-mile Fun Run. Pick up an entry form at Hall Family Pharmacy, sponsors of the event to benefit Best Friends Sanctuary. Download an entry form at allardtpumpkinfestival.com or register the morning of the run.
The Pumpkin Festival Parade, a highlight of the day, will step off at 3 p.m. led by the winning giant pumpkin and the Festival King and Queen, accompanied by the Oneida High School Pride of the Tribe Marching Band. Crystal Tompkins is parade chairman.
For great seasonal food make your way to the Bruno Gernt Park where all the vendors are set up and sample an array of sumptuous fare, from the highly sought pumpkin rolls, fried pies, fried Oreos, pumpkin and nut breads, to the usual funnel cakes and homemade goodies brought by local church folks.
There is more substantial fare as well, tasty barbecue at the Allardt Fire Hall, “swamp cabbage,” deep fried vegetables, Italian and Polish sausages, hamburgers, hot dogs, pinto beans and corn bread from vendors in the park. Treat your taste buds to the famous “pumpkin roll,” homemade and available from multiple vendors in Bruno Gernt Park. Come early for the best selection of goodies.
Shop for festival t-shirts at the Information Booth #4 in the park, crafts and decorative items, including handmade wreaths, quilts, afghans, Christmas decorations, wood crafts, artwork, jewelry, purses, and numerous other items. Vendor park sponsors are Micro Metals and Top of the Hill Properties. Cathy Jeffers is coordinator.
Twin Lakes Telephone Cooperative is providing free Wi-fi for the festival in the vendor park and at one additional location in the city, a great benefit for vendors and festival goers who may have trouble with their cell phone service in Allardt.
Admission and parking are free. For more information and updates see the Allardt Pumpkin Festival Facebook page or AllardtPumpkinFestival.com.
Sponsors not yet mentioned include: Allardt Land Company, Dilip Joshi, MD, Fentress County Farm Bureau, Fentress County Solid Waste, Fentress Courier, Union Bank, First Volunteer Bank, Fentress County Soil Conservation District, and St. Christopher Catholic Church.
Call for interviews or comments
Cathy Jeffers, 931-397-2674
Tom Potter, 931-879-3006