Barnesville Pumpkin Festival canceled; Belmont County Fair cancels 'full Fair'

Staff Writer
Barnesville Enterprise

The long-running Barnesville Pumpkin Festival has become the next community event to cancel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“For the past 56 years, the last full weekend in September traditionally means the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival filled with pumpkins, vendors, crafts, food, entertainment, parade, and car show. After much deliberation and conversations with the Belmont County Health Department, Commissioners, and Barnesville Village Officials, we have unanimously voted to cancel the four-day 2020 Barnesville Pumpkin Festival.

“Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic orders mandated by Governor (Mike) DeWine, along with access to all facilities needed to put on this festival, the committee has made this difficult decision. With well over 100,000 people attending the four-day festival from across the United States, the committee felt this was the best decision for the safety of all,” according to a press release issued by the festival committee. 

“It was a rather depressing meeting last night, but there was no way we could possibly have the festival without rides and concessions, plus schools (if open) will remain in session, so we would have no access to the buildings. We are, however, going to continue with the giant pumpkin Weigh-off, but it will be held somewhere else, such as the park or possibly the high school parking lot — location to be determined — and will be presented virtually. As a member of the worldwide Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, we will continue to award the cash prizes as these growers spend a considerable amount of money to grow these giant specimens,” said Susan Lapham of the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival Committee.

The committee said that they realize that growers have put many relentless hours and money into growing the huge pumpkins. Because of that, the King Pumpkin Weigh-in is still being planned. Details will be forth coming in the weeks ahead as to the date, time, and location for the 2020 King Pumpkin Weigh in. 

Meanwhile, the Belmont County Fair has changed from a “full Fair” with rides and grandstand entertainment to a Junior Fair only Fair, due to Gov. DeWine’s mandates outlined on July 28. 

Ed Campbell, president of the fair board, said he was disappointed on hearing the news, but added the junior fair and the chance for area youth to show their animals and skills remains the most important part of the September event.

He offered thanks to the public who had shown overwhelming support during the initial plan to hold a full fair.

The Belmont County Fair is set for Sept. 8-13, 2020.