For the past one hundred and eleven years come October in Circleville, Ohio something magical happens – the streets fill with happy people and pumpkins of unusual shape and size (and a lot of other cool agricultural stuff too!).
The Circleville Pumpkin Show is one of those things that feels like it could only happen in small town America. And like so many great ideas the Pumpkin Show started with it began simply with one person. This person, George R. Haswell – Mayor of Circleville, got it into his head to decorate his place on West Main Street with Corn leftovers, pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns. This unusually ornate display was immediately dubbed “the pumpkin show”. The next year Haswell was joined by neighboring merchants. More and more joined in each year and, well, now Circleville has a festival that draws some 300,000 people in the span of four days.
Later a permanent organization was created to maintain and promote the Pumpkin Show. The organization was also tasked with public relations and to encourage agricultural pursuit and to award outstanding displays of grain, fruits, vegetables, school displays – anything that bettered Circleville and Pickaway County.
These days the Pumpkin Show boasts the slogan: Greatest Free Show on Earth – and they have stuck by that. The show is entirely free to enter and enjoy.
The Pumpkin Show organization took things a step further in 1946 by creating an NPO, Circleville Pumpkin Show, Inc. to operate the show. Profits from the show are used to better Circleville. Thousands of dollars have been donated to the city for use in community projects. Amazingly Pumpkin Show, Inc is entirely self sufficient. The operate solely on donations and self generated income. They even reimburse the city for use of services such as extra police duties.
While America ideals often seem to prefer individual success, the spirit of community and giving inherent in the goals of the Circleville Pumpkin Show seem to best represent the greatest qualities of our country – community and self sufficiency allowed by people helping people.
Marjorie Whiteman is from Liberty Township, Ohio. She was born in 1898. Eventually she would earn two law degrees at Yale Law School. There, she edited the Yale Law Journal. Later she would become a Carnegie Fellow and study international law, which she became an expert in.
From 1920-1926 she taught high school history. In 1929 she filled a post for the State Department. This would begin her career that lasted forty years and where she would make a name for herself. She advised 10 Secretaries of State on international law during her tenure. She also served as special assistant to Green Hackworth, the department’s legal adviser at the time. Whiteman would also help the department with its role in drafting the UN Charter in 1945 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Perhaps most notably she served First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from 1945-1951 when she was serving as the US representative to the UN General Assembly. She was a major contributor to Hackworth’s 8 volume “Digest of International Law”.
Whiteman would go on to serve as the VP of the American Society of International Law and would be chosen as a member of the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame in 1979
Ohio is proud of your service to our nation Ms. Whiteman.
The Vinton County Convention and Visitors Bureau has teamed up with the also-local Moonville Rail Trail Association to put on the Midnight at Moonville Halloween-themed festival for the fourth year in a row. It will be held on Saturday 12 Oct. 2019 at the supposedly-haunted Moonville Rail Tunnel near Lake Hope State Park.
The festival will feature regional crafts people, local food vendors, presentations by historians, dramatic performances by storytellers, spooky wagon rides to the Moonville Cemetery, demonstrations of paranormal investigation methods and more.
There will also be scheduled performance by local musicians such as Todd Martin, Ben Davis Jr., Lincoln Mash, Steve Zarate and more.
Moonville itself self is now a ghost town and one of the very few standing Moonville structures is the rail tunnel. In 1856 the only way to Moonville was via the rail route. The narrow tunnel was extremely dangerous for pedestrians and many accidents occurred in and around the tunnel over the years—this is why some believe the tunnel to be haunted.
During the festival patrons will learn about the history of the area as well as the chilling legends that cropped up due to the dangerous rail tunnel. This is a rare chance to learn about the abandoned town of Moonville from an impressive panel of historians and storytellers.
Are you brave enough to stay until sunrise?
If the universe (weather, time, work commitments etc.) have kept you from getting your family into Ohio’s beautiful outdoor habitats it isn’t too late. The real fall weather is still weeks away and Ohio has got plenty to offer as far as locations and activities.
Check the Ohio State Park website: http://parks.ohiodnr.gov/ for locations and activities near you. Many of these parks don’t close until late October. And even though the kids are back in school there is still time to get everyone out and active for a weekend.
Additionally, resources like Only In Ohio and Ohio.org provide information on all kinds of small, local and free or inexpensive events and interesting locations all over the state.
Furthermore, you can check your county, city or township webpage for local activities, parks, and hiking trails. In northeast Ohio the Summit Metro Parks as begun its well-known Fall Hiking Spree program and the Cuyahoga Conservancy for the Cuyahoga National Parks offers lots of family friendly fun.