First Ever Pumpkin Festival Kicks Off The Fall Season In Athens

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For years, many Athens County residents have traveled elsewhere to see a pumpkin show or to participate in a pumpkin festival, but not anymore.

The inaugural Athens Pumpkin Festival kicked off on Saturday.

From pumpkin relay races to pumpkin hand tosses, festival goers could take part in some of the many pumpkin games available.

There were hundreds of pumpkins to buy and pumpkin food to eat.

It's been a year in the making and organizers say it's all in an effort to market the fairgrounds and to draw in the community. 

"It's just something different, I mean you can go to other pumpkin shows but we chose a weekend that doesn't conflict with other shows because we want to give people a different opportunity," said festival organizer Tom Weekley.

The event offered more than just pumpkins, it was also the first Fall flea market open to the public.

"This is our first year of doing this, other fairgrounds have something similar to this and it works out really well for them. We just thought it was an opportunity for some of the people to participate here in Athens County and not having to always travel somewhere else," said flea market organizer Peggy Fix.

Proceeds from the event all are pocketed by the community.

"We are raising a little bit of money, we charge for the space so we are making a little bit of money, that money goes to help make improvements here at the fair grounds," said Fix.

Some of the proceeds from the events went to the Athens County Agricultural Society, Weekleyville Pumpkin Farms and to local-area boys and girls clubs.

Organizers plan on expanding the event in the future.

"Maybe eventually we'll have a big pumpkin contest, parade and that kind of thing. It's a good beginning," said Weekley.

Organizers say the plan is for the festival to be held on the first weekend of every October.