Heavy Rains Hurt Pumpkin Harvest, But Not Pumpkin Festival
HARTSBURG - The town of Hartsburg could grow up to 400 times bigger when the 19th annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival kicks off. After a year of heavy rains, the pumpkin harvest wasn't quite what growers in Hartsburg have gotten used to. Even with a smaller crop, organizers of the event say there are still plenty of pumpkins.
Jo Hackman, a member of the festival committee, said she usually sees a harvest almost ten times bigger. Even though she doesn't have as many pumpkins as in years past, she says she still has plenty to go around.
The festival takes place every year after the first full week of October, even though the planning begins much earlier.
"We have our first meeting in January, and then we have one every month until September, then we have one every week," said Hackman. "So we really work on it all year.
Last year's festival had to deal with rain, which made parking much more of a challenge than usual. This year, though, Hackman is expecting sunny skies.
Hackman said the festival has drawn as many as 45,000 visitors in past years, which can make things difficult to the 108 residents of Hartsburg.
"We are indebted to the townspeople," she said. Vendors and food booths get to set up in local yards and driveways, which makes it almost impossible for neighbors to leave home during the festival weekend. One Hartsburg resident said that's what she liked, because it helped the whole town "kind of come together."
After the festival committee pays the bills from the weekend, members give some of the remaining money back to the town. In the past, they've donated to local churches, town projects and scholarships for local students.