Photo: Brooke Herbert Hayes/WOUB
Photo: Brooke Herbert Hayes/WOUB

Pawpaw Festival Provides Unique, New Experiences to Attendees

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Whether a first time attendee, or a pawpaw veteran, there were plenty of new and interesting sites to see and be part of at the 16th annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival over the weekend at Lake Snowden.

Having first heard of the pawpaw at a store in Columbus where she works, Misty Porter was attending her first Pawpaw Festival.

“I work at a store that sells pawpaw jam,” said Porter. “A friend was coming so we decide to all go.”

Having just tasted the native fruit for the first time, Porter said it tasted more like a mango than she expected.

For Deana Detty and Hannah Pridemore of Vinton County the festival was a chance to visit the Henna Fairies. Detty said it was the first time attending the Pawpaw Festival and trying the fruit.

“It’s like a banana and a mango. It has the taste of a banana and the texture of a mango,” said Detty.

While the pawpaw may have been the main attraction at the weekend festival, the gauntlet obstacle course provided some excitement for all ages.

The Pawpaw Gauntlet is a two-person team race for those of all ages. Races were held in four age groups over a series of two days. Saturday featured the youth races with an open practice and free play session prior.

The race traveled through a maze of challenging obstacles, which test strength, agility, intellect, determination and cooperative skills. Included in the race were obstacles that made the competitor jump and slide into water, climb a rope, use a rope swing to cross hay bales, jump from one obstacle to another and many other things. The obstacle course sprint featured more than 20 obstacles in less then a mile.

For 8-year-old Sarah Harris, of Albany, Saturday was the first time to compete in the Pawpaw Gauntlet although she had practiced on the course at last year’s event.

After running a practice lap through the course, Harris said she was “cold and nervous” as she waited to start the race.

The water obstacles drew the most attention from the first time competitor as she described the lake, which had warm water, as her favorite and the slide, which ended in cold water as her least favorite.

The Pawpaw Festival will return for a 17th year Sept. 11-13, 2015.