ELKIN — Pumpkins of all sizes — from petite to prodigious — are the primary attraction each autumn for the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in downtown Elkin.
This year’s 17th annual festival takes place next Saturday and promises plenty of plump produce.
The highlight is the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Sanctioned by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth association, the weigh-off awards cash prizes for the largest pumpkin ($1,000), watermelon ($400), squash ($50), and gourd ($40).
The prize pumpkin in 2009 was a state record 1,258 pounds, while the winning watermelon in 2010 weighed a world record 291 pounds.
“The Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off makes this a unique festival,” said festival organizer Laurette Leagon of the Yadkin Valley Chamber. “People bring pumpkins from North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Kentucky — we even had a guy bring a pumpkin on a flatbed from New York. They’re so big it requires a forklift to put them on the scales.”
The weigh-off kicks off the festival at 9 a.m., followed by a full day of fun until 5 p.m. Festivities range from live music to children’s activities to pottery demonstrations to a pumpkin pie eating contest. New this year is a cornhole tournament.
Featured performers are bluegrass gospel band Beyond the Blue, followed by The Graybyrds, a folksy Americana rock group.
Meanwhile, food vendors provide plenty of treats, including pumpkin rolls, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice coffee and polish sausages.
Of course, there are pumpkins for purchase — a plethora from produce growers across the Piedmont.
Hours for the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is no charge for admission. The event is sponsored by the Yadkin Valley Chamber.
For more information call 526-1111, or visit www.YadkinValley.org.