COLUMBIA — Early Saturday morning, the low sun created a beautiful setting for the start of the 17th annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival. The famous giant pumpkins basking in the sunlight made a perfect playground for the kids climbing and leaping across them.
Hartsburg, a town south of Columbia with a population of 108, is expected to host 25,000 to 30,000 visitors each day during the two-day festival. Attendees can expect to find hot kettle corn, pork burgers, tie-dyed T-shirts, pony rides, jewelry and home decorations from more than 220 vendors.
The festival began 9 a.m. Saturday with a parade through town; music was provided by the Southern Boone high school and middle school marching bands. Mick Byrd and Bonus Track, followed by Roadhouse Fiddle, entertained crowds during the afternoon.
The festival continues today and starts with a 9 a.m. church service. Spiritual Strings, Out of the Valley, Praises to Him and Nashville Church make up the afternoon's musical line-up. Families can also pick out the perfect pumpkin and enjoy hayrides in the pumpkin patch, a stroll through the corn maze and even some pumpkin fudge.
Parking is limited this year, though handicapped parking is available. Trams pulled by John Deere tractors are available to escort people from the parking lots to the festival.