Sunday, September 19, 2021

Pumpkin Festival Reflections and Remembrances

Daily Gratitude Year 9 - Day 260: Today, I am grateful for Pumpkin Festival reflections and remembrances... and making new memories.

I borrowed this from Vicki Horn, who borrowed it from someone else. I am grateful we were able to have a real Pumpkin Festival this year. Thanks to all who make this happen. It is a community effort in every way. So grateful for this place that has been my home longer than anywhere else and more than half of my life. The world can laugh at our passion for the pumpkins and the festival, but it brings us together in the most special way.
Stealing from a friend๐Ÿ˜‰…sums up Pfest!

“Little known fact: the small Illinois town I've lived in most of my life is the pumpkin capital of the world. And I don't make this claim in the "world's best coffee" sense. We're ACTUALLY the pumpkin capital of the world. We're home to Libby's pumpkin canning factory which processes over 80% of the world's pumpkins in our humble Midwestern town of just over 16,000.

This week, is the Morton Pumpkin Festival, otherwise known as "The World's Fair" to us locals. For those of us who grew up in Morton, this is a sacred week. We've planned important events, vacations and even weddings around these hallowed 4 days, and that isn't an exaggeration. We often attempt to describe to friends and family who are non-residents just how special this week is. After so much hype, some visitors are often left confused. If you're attending the festival for the first time this year, it's probably best for our sake to pretend as if your experience at the festival was the best of your entire life.

It's hard to put into words what exactly separates this festival from the rest, but here's a few of things about this week that we've grown to hold dearly:
+ Setting out chairs on the parade route weeks in advance
+ Experiencing one of the first few chilly days about a week before the festival arrives
+ The anticipation as the first tent is set up at Jefferson School
+ Seeing caravans of trucks transporting rides on 74 when you know that graviton is headed home to Morton
+ Opening day. Kiddos walking around with wide eyes as they can't decide which neon colored ride to spend their tickets on next.
+ Nostalgia sets in pretty hard when you realize you've never missed this week in your hometown and the memories come flooding back
+ The food, OHHH the food. Pumpkin chili and pork chops at the food tent, pumpkin ice cream at the roller rink, only the best pumpkin doughnuts on the planet from the dessert tent, an apple cider slushee from Uncle Bud's airstreamesque trailer, and let us not forget our humble pumpkin pie with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.
+ Having a pumpkin ale at the beer tent while catching up with old friends, some you haven't seen since high school (while pretending to like pumpkin ale)
+ Grabbing another bowl of pumpkin chili and sitting down to cheer on competitors in the vocal competition
+ Looking at all the entries for the pumpkin decorating contest and being even more wildly impressed than last year
+ Browsing through the vendor tent and seeing how many free pens you can acquire and giveaways you can throw your name in
+ Heading down to the local library to view paintings and photographs from local artists
+ Making plans to wake at 6a for early morning pumpkin pancakes on Saturday
+ And when you don't wake to your alarm, the internal affliction between ordering pumpkin pancakes or pumpkin french toast at the downtown diner
+ Cheering on the faithful runners + walkers of the 10k and 2 mile run/walk while you happily eat another pumpkin doughnut on the sidelines
+ Having an excuse to don your new sweater for the parade because it's finally chilly enough
+ Happily waiting in a 2 hour line in order to enjoy some hot coffee from locally owned Eli's Coffee Shop (Morton, IL) during the parade
+ Watching the kiddos score all the best candy during the parade and end up sharing it with their fellow candy grabber next to them
+ Pretending the parade is for the kids but enjoying it just as much if not more so
+ Walking past the "cool" high schoolers hanging out by the Zipper and laughing to yourself remembering you were once one of them 10+ years ago
+ Taking an hour to walk 30 feet ahead of you because you run into so many people you haven't talked to in years
+ Grabbing more pumpkin ice cream and strolling down Main Street at night looking at the fall pumpkin displays the local shops have put together just for this week
+ Spending Sunday afternoon perusing through the craft tents while trying to hold on to every last remanent of the festival
+ After the last apple cider slushy has been drank and the last tent has been packed, seeing the battered grass on Jefferson park as a reminder of the fun that was had this year and already blocking off your calendar for next year's festival.
Today, I am grateful for Pumpkin Festival reflections and remembrances... and making new memories.
Jan Smith, Lola Marie Toedebusch and 25 others

No comments:

Post a Comment