Pumpkin Daze in Republic, MO
The Republic Pumpkin Daze is a great place for you to bring your family to enjoy Tractor Pulls, shopping, and a multitude of over-sized pumpkins and vegetables. There is something for everyone at this festival, and it is a great way to celebrate this beautiful Fall season.
The festival was first founded by a committee from Republic to organize a harvest festival in celebration of the season. Their mission was to draw interest from all over the region. The same men and women who founded the festival became founding mothers and fathers of a festival that caught the attention of giant produce growers and a wide range of onlookers. Since it's founding in 1992 the festival has continued to grow in attendance and participation every first Saturday in October.
When I arrived at the festival the first thing I noticed was the vast amount of shops lining the streets. Shops also branched off into alleyways and smaller streets. You can find anything from hand-knitted scarves and sewn quilts to metal sculptures and wind-chimes. Nearly all of the wares available at the booths set up around the festival. Home décor and seasonal decorations were available as well, and all of the prices were very reasonable. Every piece was beautiful and well crafted, and you could sense the pride each of the merchants took in their work.
When you began to get hungry, there were numerous choices of food trucks that sold favorites like burgers, hot dogs, BBQ, and homemade pies. Ice cream trucks and snow cones were also parked at the festival to satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.
Shops and food aren't the only things to do at the Republic Pumpkin Daze...There are also events happening throughout the day and a multitude of kids activities to participate in. The events of the day included Tractor Pulls for both kids and adults, a performance from Tiffany's Performing Arts Studio, Wheelbarrow Races, and my personal favorite, the Pie Eating Contest! Contestants had the choice between strawberry, cherry and rhubarb pie, and had three minutes to eat as much of the pie as possible. At the end, their pies were weighed and the lightest pie was the winner. In all, there were approximately six age groups that participated and it was very amusing to watch their faces turn red from pie filling!
Another major event at the festival is a contest of the biggest, heaviest pumpkins, watermelons, and other produce from giant produce farmers all over the area. The contest also records the longest gourds and zucchinis, as well as a plethora of other fruits and vegetables. Near the end of the day, winners are announced and awards are handed to the farmers that brought in the colossal pumpkins and other squash and produce. The first place pumpkin weighed in at over one thousand pounds! The kids activities were spread over the whole of the festival, and included a miniature train complete with a train whistle, Laser Tag with inflatable obstacles, and small games set up in some of the booths.
The Republic Pumpkin Daze is an amazing fall festival to visit, whether you're looking for great variety in shopping, tasty food, and plenty of activities for everyone in your family. Be sure you visit this festival year after year to participate in the fun!