Allardt Pumpkin Festival set for Saturday

Misty’s Southern Style sponsors WECO live broadcast

By Goose Lindsay

WECO News

What started as a way for one man to keep from hauling large pumpkins a great distance to be weighed has led to 29 years of fun as Saturday is the date for the 29th Annual Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-Off in Allardt.

“Twenty-nine years ago, Mr. Jim Asbury traveled to another state to have one of his pumpkins weighed and he did really well,” Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off chairwoman Cathy Jeffers said. “He came back and said ‘let’s just do this here.’ It started small then it just got bigger and bigger, and, of course, we added some additional events to it.”

The annual festival has grown into one of Tennessee’s biggest events, drawing thousands of people to Fentress County on the first Saturday in October on a yearly basis.

This year the day starts at 7 a.m. with the Pumpkin Run sponsored by Hall Family Pharmacy. Opening ceremonies take place at 10 a.m. along with the weighing of pumpkins. At noon, Jake Hoot, winner of NBC’s “The Voice” will perform followed by Ashley Hepperly. The final event on the schedule is the Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off Parade at 3 p.m.

Other events and activities include the Clyde and Zelia Stephens memorial Auto Show, a motorcycle show will also take place, and approximately 150 vendors are also expected to be onsite.

“We’re going to have some great things going on, great food and good, free entertainment, free parking, free admittance; we just like to think as a great opportunity to bring the family out,” Jeffers said. “You don’t have to spend any money if you do want to, but if you do, there are some great things to buy.”

Like so many other things in America, Allardt is taking precautions to guard against COVID-19.

“We are following the Tennessee Pledge guidelines for large community events,” Jeffers said. “We’ll have some signage around…We will have all kinds of hand sanitizer sitting around at all the events and we have purchased additional port-a-potties and different things to help people spread out a little bit.”

WECO’s Dennis Willard will be at the Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off broadcasting live from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Saturday. DW’s broadcast is made possible by Misty’s Southern Style in Wartburg.

“The Allardt Pumpkin Festival is an event we look forward to every year and we’re happy to help promote the event on WECO,” said Misty Ellis-Shillings, owner of Misty’s Southern Style. “2020 has been such a rough year due to COVID-19, but we hope everyone gets a chance to make it to Allardt for what is always a great day.”

Visit www.allardtpumpkinfestival.com for more information on the 29th Annual Great Pumpkin Festival and Weigh-off.

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