NEW BREMEN — Nothing speaks of autumn more than the sight of pumpkins. So if you enjoy the fall season, New Bremen is the place to be on Sept. 22-23 as they celebrate their annual Pumpkinfest at the Crown Pavilion at 1 W. Plum St.
Founded in 2003, Pumpkinfest began as a small event for pumpkin growers to show off their biggest and most prized pumpkins. Growers came from all over the Midwest to bring their giant pumpkins and in 2010, a Guinness record was set for the World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie —- 20 feet wide!
But the festival has also evolved into something more important to the community of New Bremen than just world records. “Three years ago, we incorporated into a 501©3 non-profit organization and adopted a new purpose and mission,” said Tim Niekamp, president of the Pumpkinfest committee. “We created a charitable fund at the New Bremen Foundation so that proceeds from the festival can be used to fund special projects to benefit our entire community.”
Neikamp proudly points out that last year’s festival raised $8,000 for the fund and he hopes that figure will continue to grow.
This year’s event kicks off at 4 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22. There will be “happy hour and a half” drink specials, food, inflatables for the kids, and entertainment. Saturday, the festival begins at 7:00 a.m. with a pumpkin pancake breakfast served by the New Bremen Cub Scouts and continues all day and into the evening.
Following breakfast on Saturday, the Great Pumpkin Bike Ride will begin at 8:30 a.m. with distances of 20, 30, and 60 miles. Riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome and entrants can register in advance online or the day of the event.
Saturday’s highlight is the seventh annual Artisan Showcase from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Showcase includes social painting events and over 25 local vendors displaying their talents. There will be chainsaw sculpture, fine art, photography, blown glass, jewelry, and more.
There are no carnival rides, but in addition to the giant inflatables, there will be youth entertainment and kids’ activities such as sidewalk chalk drawing, face painting, balloon animals, and a pie eating contest. Adults can join in for shuffle mug and cornhole. A car and motorcycle cruise-in will take place in the parking lot near the Komminsk Legacy Park and 17 West on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
For festivalgoers worried about missing a down of the OSU football game, there will be big-screen televisions for viewing and cheering on the Buckeyes.
Supplying adult beverages throughout the festival will be several local breweries including Moeller Brew Barn, Tailspin Brewing Company, Lake Rat Brewing, and Yellow Springs Brewery. Wine and domestic beers will also be available. Of course, many of the foods being served will include pumpkin, like pumpkin brats and pumpkin pie, but other local favorites will be featured too, like Winner’s pork chops.
The entertainment stage will be busy both nights with Kaitlyn Schmit and Another Round performing on Friday, and What She Said, Josh Smedley, and Nashville Crush featured on Saturday.
Tickets for the His and Hers Raffle are being sold and the Grand Prize is “Dinner and a Movie for a Year,” a package that includes $1,200 worth of local restaurant certificates and Lock One movie passes. First prize is a $600 gift certificate at Gilberg’s Furniture or True Value Hardware. Second prize includes an Akron Kooker smoker grill and a gift card for New Bremen Massage. Third prize is all about beer with two growlers a month at Moeller Brew Barn and a $150 gift card for Tailspin Brewery. The fourth prize winner will collect his and hers fitbits. Raffle tickets can be purchased from committee members or online at five chances for $20.
Neikamp heads a committee of dedicated volunteers who plan and run all the activities of Pumpkinfest: Robert Kosch, Gary Burns, Zak Hurly, Amanda Hurly, Wes Steineker, Jay Reithman, Scott Steineman, Kyle Elking, Dwight Inkrott, and Tony Eyink.
“Pumpkinfest is different than other festivals because of the support we are giving to a good cause,” said Niekamp. “Plus the decorations are outstanding with scarecrows and other harvest-themed items and we have the Artisan Tent which is unique.”
For more information and a full schedule of activities, follow the event on Facebook or go to www.newbremenpumpkinfest.com.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.