What started out as a small community festival and has turned into a statewide event is returning for its 20th anniversary this weekend.
The annual Hartsburg Pumpkin Festival typically draws a crowd of 50,000 over Saturday and Sunday, according to committee president Ganelle Cunningham.
The two-day festival commences with a parade and the crowning of its king, usually an active member of the local community, on Saturday morning.
The festival is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Cunningham characterized the event as "family oriented" with several activities planned for children, including pony rides, two different mazes and face painting.
As with its namesake, the festival is known for its abundance of locally grown pumpkins, which has traditionally been the focus of the festival. Despite this summer's flooding in fields around the Missouri River, the pumpkin crop has not been jeapordized, according to one pumpkin farmer.
Jo Hackman, a member of the festival committee and a grower of the majority of the festival's pumpkins, said their 30-acre pumpkin crop is not as copious as previous years because of flood-induced seepwater. However, she is positive there will be plenty of pumpkins to supply the festival.