Written By: Andrew Ketterer
Who’s ready for “pumpkin” overload in the Peoria Area?
The 42nd Annual Morton Pumpkin Festival will be held Wednesday, September 11 to Saturday, September 14 and this year’s theme will be “Pumpkin Carnivale.”
In 1967, the Morton Chamber of Commerce organized the first Morton Pumpkin Festival as a fundraiser to celebrate the beginning of pumpkin harvest and canning season. The festival has continued to grow since its inaugural year, including over 30 special events and venues hosted and organized by over 2,000 volunteers. It’s estimated that the festival pulls in 70,000 visitors!
There will be a countless number of activities and entertainment throughout the weekend, so I’ve tried to highlight a few different areas of the festival that you’ll enjoy!
The Morton Pumpkin Festival offers carnival rides for every level of thrill seeker. Some rides are sure to have you screaming, while others are perfect for the younger children and those who prefer a more relaxing ride. There are also many games set up throughout the carnival, giving visitors chances to win prizes and delicious treats.
Carnival tickets are $25 for a strip of 10 or $3 each and can be found at ticket booths located throughout the midway. Ticket booths accept cash only. Most of the rides cost one ticket per ride, while the larger rides cost two tickets per ride.
On Friday, September 13th between 3-6 p.m., visitors will have the opportunity to purchase a $25 wristband and ride as many rides as they can!
The 2013 Gold’s Gym Entertainment Stage is jam-packed with talented musicians and engaging entertainment throughout the festival.
The action gets underway on Wednesday with the Opening Ceremonies at 5:00 p.m. Steady Flow will headline the evening, taking the stage at 8:00 p.m. 3 and a Half Men will play on Thursday at 7:45 p.m. On Friday at 7:00 p.m., the Free Agents Brass Band will keep everyone’s attention. The Central Illinois Pianos will cap things off on Saturday with a performance that begins at 7:00 p.m.
For the full entertainment schedule, click HERE!
Be sure to mark your calendars for the morning of Saturday, September 14 from 6:30-10:30 a.m. The Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast is an event you don’t want to miss! This popular “all you can eat” event only costs $7 for adults and $5 for children 12 years and younger.
Be sure to wake up early and get to the Pumpkin Grille on the Festival Grounds, or face the disappointment of never making it to the front of the line!
One of the fastest growing events at the Morton Pumpkin Festival is this race, with an anticipated 1,800 registrations this year. The race begins on Saturday morning at 7:30 on North First Avenue in Morton. The courses weave through the town and finish in the middle of the Festival Grounds.
The 10K race costs $30 and the 2-mile race costs $20. All participants will receive a long sleeve t-shirt. Race bibs and timing chips can be picked up next to the CMFS Group on Main Street on Friday from 5:00-7:00 p.m. or the morning of the race. Cash prizes will be presented to several category winners based on age and ability level.
And Even More!
If you’re still not convinced, take a look at a few more of the events listed below. There is something for everyone at the Morton Pumpkin Festival!– Pumpkin Idol Competition – Jedi Academy – Pumpkin Pie Eating Competition – Pumpkin Princess Pageant – Pumpkin Festival Parade – Bags Tournament – Pumpkin Business Expo
And believe me, there’s even more! Just head to the Morton Pumpkin Festival website for more information.
Be sure to make it out to one of the largest festivals in the Peoria Area! The Morton Pumpkin Festival is sure to have you coming back year after year!
Written By: Andrew Ketterer