COMO YOU KNOW: Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 | 10:17 a.m. CDT; updated 6:50 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014

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The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival takes place the second weekend in October in Hartsburg. The festival traditionally features activities such as pumpkin carving, pumpkin pie eating competitions, hayrides, apple butter making and a straw maze. There are also food booths, more than 150 craft vendors and pony rides.


Location: Hartsburg

Sponsored by: Hartsburg Bike and Social Club

Began: October 12 and 13, 1991


Full text

Each year, a festival king is named. The crowning of the king gets the festival started. A parade and various bands fill the day on Saturday. A church service is held, and worship bands provide entertainment on Sunday. There is no admission charge for the event.


The first Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival took place October 12 and 13, 1991. The Hartsburg Bike and Social Club, which had only eight members, organized and sponsored the event. Samples of pumpkin baked goods from the Hartsburg Cafe were available, and a festival cookbook was sold for $3. Vendors did not have to pay for booths. A silent auction paid the festival bills.

Eight thousand people attended the 1992 festival. Gospel music became the traditional music for the festival after it was featured as the Sunday musical entertainment in 1992.

The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival was canceled in 1993 because of the great flood, which damaged 40 buildings in Hartsburg.

In 1994, about 12,000 people attended the festival. To assist with flood relief in other parts of the country, the festival raised money to help those who had been affected by the 1993 flood. Festivalgoers contributed $350 toward a Georgia Mission Trip to help rebuild destroyed houses.

The Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival Committee, which was established by the Hartsburg Bike and Social Club to run the event, became a not-for-profit organization in 1998. About 35,000 people attended the festival that year.

Attendance fell to 30,000 people in 1999; however, $2,000 was raised for the Hartsburg Lions Club. The donation was used to build a gazebo in Volunteer Park. That year, the committee hosted a dinner for the Sheriff’s deputies and their families to recognize their work in the community. This dinner has continued to the present.

In 2004, the Missouri Division of Tourism recognized the Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival Committee with the “Innovator Award” for having a large turnout with a small budget that year.

The 19th annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival was held October 9 and 10, 2010. There were 252 vendors at the event.

Festival Contributions

The festival often raises money to contribute to community causes, including:

  • $2,000 per year for Christmas decoration purchases (2000-2003).
  • a new flagpole for the Fire Department (2002).
  • the Hartsburg Lewis and Clark Festival (2004).
  • $3,000 for town tractor (2004).
  • a memorial statue (2005).
  • $1,000 for the John Thomas Ambulance Base (2006).

Pumpkin Kings

1991: Henry Klemme

1992: Hershel Hughes

1994: Fritz Arnsmeyer

1995: Carl Thomas

1996: Walter Sanderson

1997: Al Beckmeyer

1998: Wayne Hilgedick

1999: Les Hilgedick

2000: David Kelly

2001: John Thomas

2002: Dennis Groves

2003: Roland Walker

2004: Clifford Sapp

2005: Dale Lenger

2006: Orion Beckmeyer

2007: Fred Klippel

2008: Orval Lenger

2009: C.L. Richardson

2010: Darrel Rait

Links and sources

History of Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival

Hartsburg crops up in time for annual festival

Festivalgoers talk about their Hartsburg Pumpkin experience in 2009

Hartsburg holds 19th pumpkin festival

Updated: March 20, 2013

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