The West Virginia Pumpkin Festival once again returned to Milton last week, running from Thursday through Sunday. A deluge of rain came down on Friday, but the other days had better weather. The downpour prevented at least one motorist from exiting the parking area via the designated route.
Each year, the largest pumpkin contest brings contestants from around the state, as well as Ohio, to compete for the honor of growing the heaviest pumpkin. This year, the Putnam County Bank sponsored the contest.
The in-state grand champion was Robert Cyrus of Fort Gay with a 2,194-pound pumpkin. He set a new state record, and broke his previous record from 2019. Other in-state winners included Stephanie Pauley of Charleston with a 188-pound pumpkin; Kenneth Keeling of Hurricane with a 110-pound pumpkin; and Donna Keeling of Hurricane with a 31-pound pumpkin.
Out-of-state winners include Eli Dalton of Ironton with a 847-pound pumpkin; Amy Belville of Gallipolis with a 273-pound pumpkin; Kooper Belville of Gallipolis with a 91-pound pumpkin. Kooper, seven years old, was the youngest competitor this year.
The pumpkins were auctioned off on Sunday, with proceeds going to the Pumpkin Festival’s scholarship fund. Any high school senior going to school within the state is eligible for the scholarships, which can be used for either college or vocational technical centers.
Three scholarships were awarded this year, due to there not being a festival in 2020. Next year, the Pumpkin Festival hopes to give out more scholarships.