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The Upper Delaware River region is known for many things. Rafting, canoeing, camping and swimming are some that spring to mind. The scenic splendor of the area serves as a perfect backdrop for community-oriented events throughout the year. Whether it’s ice fishing, honeybees, or celebrating all things trout, it’s easy to find a festival that coincides. My favorite season is autumn, and when there’s a chill in the air, and the leaves begin to fall, Halloween begins to creep into my thoughts—and with that the Great Pumpkin arrive.
And where better to celebrate the nation’s obsession with the king of all gourds than in Barryville, NY—home of Pumpkin Fest since 2003. Presented by the Greater Barryville Chamber of Commerce and supported locally by scads of sponsors, Pumpkin Fest has grown exponentially, and this year’s celebration promises to be bigger and better than ever before. Barryville takes its pumpkins seriously, and this family-friendly festival has something for everyone, even the dogs! It wouldn’t be the country if there weren’t a pie contest, and Pumpkin Fest has two—one that you bake and another you eat—but if you want to compete, your recipe (duh) must contain pumpkin, be it savory or sweet.
Other competitions include pumpkin carving and decorating, along with costumes, of course—for both young and old, and that’s where the canines come in. The website simply states that there will be judging for “pets,” so I suppose it’s possible that if you bring your pet pig in a tutu, or one of your goats is wearing a sombrero, your chances of winning a prize are high.
The scarecrow-making contest is one of my favorites, because it takes place on-site during the festival, culminating with judging later in the day. While the schedule of entertainers slated to appear is still being tweaked, rumor has it that legendary blues guitarist Slam Allen is returning this year, along with a slew of local musicians, all out to enjoy the haunted hayrides, incredible food and scores of vendors offering autumnal crafts, gifts and treats. Oh, and pumpkins. There will be lots and lots of pumpkins!
Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Delaware River, Pumpkin Fest 2018 will take place at 3351 Route 97, on the grounds of The Carriage House, next to the Barryville/Shohola Bridge, on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For contest entry forms and more information, visit www.barryvilleny.com/pumpkinfest.