AMERICAN essayist, poet and philosopher Henry David Thoreau once noted, "I would rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion."
Thoreau died more than a century before the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival began so he never knew what a crowd that pumpkins could attract. Also, it isn't a good idea to sit on one.
Instead, those in the Barnesville area have found better uses for the large orange-yellow orbs.
The pumpkins - especially the weighty ones exceeding 1,000 pounds - are on display, and they're also used in a variety of foods offered at the festival. They also lend their names to a variety of activities such as the Giant Pumpkin Parade and the 5K Pumpkin Run. There also will be the Pumpkin Wagon, Pumpkin Patch and Pumpkin Porch.
King Pumpkin will be selected Wednesday night, and the 48th annual festival officially will open Thursday at 5 p.m. Among those present at the opening will be the Pumpkin Festival queen.
ENTERTAINMENT, crafts, a book sale, midway rides, tall tales, hog calling, pumpkin pie events, varied food and meals, antique and classic cars, old and new farm machinery displays, antiques and quilts are only some of the attractions that draw people to the Belmont County village of less than 5,000 people.
When the fall festival, a predecessor to the Pumpkin Festival, was held in 1946, it attracted 300 people. Attendance at the Pumpkin Festival is estimated in the 100,000 range.
The family-oriented festival is the result of the cooperation of many individuals, some of whom take vacations that week to work on the annual pumpkin extravaganza.
Not only does the festival draw many former residents back to Barnesville, but it attracts many other persons because of the varied activities and food as well as the camaraderie.
THOSE in Barnesville selected the correct name for the largest pumpkin to be selected Wednesday night - King Pumpkin.
Pumpkins overall will have a reigning presence for a few days in Barnesville.