Ohio Pawpaw Festival Returns this Weekend< < Back to
This weekend, pawpaw lovers (and anyone interested in a fun time) will converge on Lake Snowden for the 17th annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival, jam-packed with exhibits, food and beer, live music and just about everything to do with Ohio’s native state fruit: growing, cooking, genetics, medical use, sustainability and more.
According to festival founder Chris Chmiel, a past attendee had traveled to every festival throughout Ohio, and picked the Pawpaw Festival — the world’s largest Pawpaw Festival, for the record — as his favorite.
The pawpaw, or Asimina triloba, can be compared to apples, bananas or oranges.
“As an Ohio citizen, it’s really important that people understand what the pawpaw is,” Chmiel said. “I’m really interested in sustainability, and biological diversity is a big part of being sustainable (and) appreciating the native plants. (Pawpaws are) well-adapted to our area. …You don’t need chemicals to grow them.”
Chmiel said he loves pawpaws so much that he has a tattoo of one. Part of the inspiration came from studying Spanish in Mexico, and seeing the various dishes and goods made from fruits like the pawpaw.
Those attending the festival can learn historical facts about North America’s largest native tree fruit (Lewis and Clark survived off them for a period of time), enjoy local and regional music and browse the numerous educational displays and art vendors. Those over 21 can sample a festival favorite: pawpaw beers from 10 microbreweries from Athens, Zanesville, Cleveland, Akron, Columbus and Cincinnati.
Other events include the pawpaw cook-off, the pawpaw eating contest and the pawpaw gauntlet obstacle course. Lake Snowden, located in Albany, Ohio, is also open for campers who wish to stay the whole weekend.
For Athens residents and Ohio University students interested in attending but do not have their own transportation, Chmiel said there will be a shuttle providing rides Friday through Sunday, available at Baker University Center and the Fairgrounds.
“I’m pretty happy. We’ve really grown a strong committee of people,” Chmiel said. “We work hard to make it a quality event.”
For a complete list of this weekend’s Pawpaw Festival events, visit ohiopawpawfest.com.