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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.
Sponsored by: Hartsburg Bike and Social Club
Began: October 12 and 13, 1991
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.
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).
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
Updated: March 20, 2013