Pumpkin take center stage at festival


By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News



Ken Balster, of New Bremen, cooks burgers at the 2021 New Bremen Pumpkinfest.

Ken Balster, of New Bremen, cooks burgers at the 2021 New Bremen Pumpkinfest.


Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News file photo

NEW BREMEN — New Bremen’s Pumpkinfest celebration — Sept. 23-24 — started with a desire to put their town on the map by breaking a world record. It has since morphed into an event to help the community greet the fall season with music, activities and crafts.

Lucus Smith, this year’s president of the Pumpkinfest committee, said it all started in 2003, when a group of New Bremen residents decided to create the world’s largest pumpkin pie and get it in the Guinness World Record book.

“They won that recognition,” said Smith, “but in 2009 some other group broke their record, so they had to go back in and make an even bigger pie and try to win back the recognition.”

They succeeded again.

In the meantime, the Pumpkinfest took on a life of its own, becoming a two-day event with other unique activities that ensure a lot of entertainment plus no need to miss the latest OSU football game.

A complete schedule of Pumpkinfest activities can be found on their Facebook page.

Starting Friday, Sept. 23, Happy Hour and a Half runs from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The group Brothers In Law will entertain from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and Katilyn Schmit and the Move take over from 8 p.m. to close of the festival.

Kids can bounce around in inflatables from 5 p.m. to dark, while every one can enjoy the food offered by the burgers, fries and pies, as well as taste treats from various food trucks.

On Saturday morning Sept. 24, pumpkin pancakes will be served from 7 to 11 a.m., managed by the local New Bremen Cub Scout troop.

This tasty carb-dense treat may help fuel the bicyclists participating in the Great Pumpkin Roll Bike Ride, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Said Smith, “The bicyclists can choose to follow a 20 mile, 30 mile or 60 mile course.”

Another, different take on town festivals, is the Artisan Showcase, where from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. approximately 30 vendors will offer their best in pottery, kids clothing and accessories, jewelry, painting, sticker and apparel designers.

According to organizer Jessica Wendell, “We are also having an artisan showcase crew booth so that the committee members can show off some of their work as well!”

She said Beechwood Coffee will have their cart out front for specialty coffees and that the artisan group will be offering pumpkin spice popcorn.

As part of the Artisan Showcase, there will be a Mindful Movement class by Creative Arts and Wellness at 9 a.m., two Wine Tasting events by Dragonfly Vineyard and Wine Cellar at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. as well as a Live Chalk Art demonstration by Lindsey Rose at 1 p.m.

Another unique event, the Shuffle Mug tournament, runs from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m.

“For $1 per throw, competitors can slide an empty mug down a shuffleboard table and if they get completely inside the red 4-inch circle at the opposite end of the table, they win half the pot,” said Smith. “Considering that the mug has a 3-inch diameter, it is no small feat,” he added, “although the effort is worth it since the pot can amount to thousands of dollars.”

Another, more traditional game will be the cornhole tournaments starting at 3 p.m.

To coax out the football diehards, a large projection screen will show college football games that evening.

“We are hoping to be able to show the OSU versus Wisconsin game, depending on when they start,” he said, “No matter what, we will show college football games.”

A free pumpkin pie eating contest for the kids starts at 3:30 p.m.

“We provide single serving pumpkin pies and those kids who finish first will win a trophy,” explained Smith.

Kids can continue to use the inflatables or check out the Touch a Truck event where they young ones and maybe some curious adults, can check out fire trucks, ambulances or other emergency equipment. The pony rides are free from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The food trucks and Burgers, Fries and Pies runs from 11 a.m. to the close of the festival.

The music continues all during the festival, with Jay and Julia Riethman from noon to 3 p.m., 40 Acre from 4 to 8 p.m. and Brother Believe Me playing from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m., when the Pumpkinfest closes for another year.

Smith said that part of the funds raised from the Pumkinfest are donated to local causes within the village of New Bremen.

Ken Balster, of New Bremen, cooks burgers at the 2021 New Bremen Pumpkinfest.
https://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2022/09/web1_DSC_6607.jpgKen Balster, of New Bremen, cooks burgers at the 2021 New Bremen Pumpkinfest. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News file photo

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.