19th Annual Pumpkintown scheduled for Saturday, October 8th!

Historic Downtown Athens, TN and Friendly City Festivals are busy preparing for one of East Tennessee’s favorite fall festivals-Pumpkintown- A Festival of History, Harvest, and Heritage on Saturday, October 8th.

Scheduled from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., this will be the 19th annual festival celebrating the rich cultural history of East Tennessee by highlighting Native American culture, local history and displaying elements of times past that are unique and interesting for all ages.

Pumpkintown is among the area’s premier fall festivals and is one of the largest annually attended events in McMinn County with almost 16,000 in attendance. The day-long celebration brings to life the rich cultural history and heritage of the county and is named for a former McMinn County settlement.

If you were to try to locate Pumpkintown today, you’d find yourself somewhere on Mayfield Dairy Farms about two miles North of downtown Athens and still within city limits. It’s not certain when Pumpkintown began or who founded it. It is known that around 1820, a postmaster for Pumpkintown was named. Hugh Kelso, one of the first postmasters in McMinn County, distributed mail arriving by stagecoach. The county itself was a newborn, formed in 1819 and named after Joseph McMinn, who governed Tennessee at the time.

Pumpkintown was once described as a home for “transients and ne’er-do-wells,” and it is surmised the name came from the native crop grown on the premises.

Legend would have us believe that Pumpkintown was considered to be the actual site for what would become the city of Athens, but that didn’t quite happen. After much discussion and dissent over the permanent location of the county seat was located at midpoint in the county on donated land and the little pioneer settlement was eventually absorbed into Athens.

Friendly City Festival committee members expect the event to continue to provide a variety of events for all ages to enjoy.

Old favorites will be returning, including the Pumpkintown PowWow in Memory of Scott Crisp, the famous Mutt Strutt/McMinn Regional Humane Society Doggie Costume Contest, the 36th Annual McMinn County Living Heritage Museum Quilt Show, a historic walking tours of downtown Athens, Mayfield Farm Corn Maze, Pumpkin Plinko, pumpkin painting at The Arts Center, 200 plus food, craft, and art vendors as well as shopping at local businesses. There will be plenty of children’s activities throughout the venue as well as a petting zoo, pony rides and lots of interactive vendors for all ages.

New activities this year include the Kanusita Garden Club’s flower show to be held at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrating their 40 years, CASA Corridor of East Tennessee Run for the Child 5K/1 mile walk, Tennessee Wesleyan University’s Homecoming, and the USS Ware Reunion.

The festival will also feature live entertainment on two stages throughout the day and Sounds of Summer will close out its 10th season with The Dexter Thomas Band taking the Market Pavilion Stage at 7:00 p.m.

Pumpkintown is a free-to-the-public production by Friendly City Festivals made possible by the following sponsors: The City of Athens, McMinn Tourism Board, VEC Customer Shares, Tennessee Overhill, Tennessee Arts Commission, Citizens National Bank of Sevier County, Tennessee College of Applied Technology, 104.9 The Mountain/3 Rivers Radio Group, The Daily Post-Athenian, WCLE-Mix 104.1 FM, Morning Fax, Athens Kiwanis Club, Simmons Bank, Simmons Wealth Management Group, Starr Regional Medical Center, Mayfield Dairy Farm, DENSO, The Arts Center, Athens Main Street, and Wolfenden Family Pharmacies.

“We have a saying in Athens and McMinn County that is so true – if you can’t find something to do, see, eat or enjoy while you’re here, it’s not our fault!” said Meredith Willson, President of Friendly City Festivals. “Thanks to our community, vendors and attendees, Pumpkintown has enjoyed great success for the past 18 years and we look forward to another exciting year for this event.”

For more information about Pumpkintown 2022, please contact Meredith Willson at 423/887-3544 or by email: meredithw2009@comcast.net.

Website is: https://friendlycityfestivals.com/pumpkintown/ and for vendor information, please send questions to: info@friendlycityfestivals.com