Late Saturday night and on into Sunday morning, our small town will make a big transition as preparations are made for this year’s Pumpkin Show. The downtown streets, alleys and various parking lots will quickly be filled with food vendors, games, rides and merchandise booths of all kinds. Not of all the setup goes smoothly.
Although, not many of us would know this based upon the end result, which is on full display from Tuesday night through Saturday. In a relatively short period of time, Downtown Circleville is transformed into its own community that we call the Pumpkin Show.
I imagine if you were asked to describe the Pumpkin Show, you would use words or phrases such as: “There’s pumpkin everything;” “The Pumpkin Man;” “Queen’s parade;” “Fun;” “Free;” “Pet parade;” “Little Miss Pumpkin Show;” (I left out the many foods available on purpose.)
However, for some people, the Pumpkin Show is “just one big headache,” or “expensive,” or “it’s all about surviving.” While all of these descriptions may be true, depending on your viewpoint, the Pumpkin Show is much more than any of these descriptors.
I have been privileged to see the Pumpkin Show from both sides, as a visitor and as someone who has worked or volunteered during the event. One of the churches I serve, Emmanuel UMC, has had a food booth for the past 11 years. This had allowed me to understand the Pumpkin Show in a different way. Certainly, I have learned that it can be busy and it is all about surviving the week, but, based upon my experience, I would also use other words to describe the Pumpkin Show.
Those words are: “Homecoming;” “Friendship;” “Family;” “Togetherness.” The Pumpkin Show, at its core, is about bringing people together. It’s about renewing friendships. It’s about building new friendships. It’s about creating lasting memories with family. This is the heart and soul of the Pumpkin Show.
Working at a food booth affords me the privilege of experiencing these things, as well as seeing them fulfilled on the streets before me. The pure joy of watching old friends become reacquainted is truly up-lifting. On the other hand, watching families take time to actually spend time with one another gives me hope this can be the norm instead of the exception.
Families just don’t seem to spend quality time with one another, at least, as often as they should. The Pumpkin Show allows this to happen and as a result of this time spent together lasting memories are created.
In terms of strangers becoming friends, I have personally experienced many of these moments during the past 11 years. I will always remember the first friend I made while working at the church booth during Pumpkin Show. My friend’s name was Al and he has since passed away with cancer.
Al was my Pumpkin Show friend. He was funny, friendly, kind, loving and pretty rough around the edges. We developed a great friendship over the years. It was a friendship which was renewed every October until he could no longer work.
Earlier I said that he was my Pumpkin Show friend, but to be honest, he was simply my friend. My wife and I had the privilege of visiting Al at his home not long before he died. Every year, when Pumpkin Show week arrives, I fondly remember him and realize how much I miss him. Even though this causes me sadness, it also reminds me of the value of Pumpkin Show.
Al and I would never have become friends without the Pumpkin Show. The Pumpkin Show brought us together and my life was better because of it. My hope is that those who read this also understand the value of the Pumpkin Show and what it really represents. It is not just about food, games, rides and merchandise. It is about togetherness, family, friendship, and homecoming. I hope you take time to truly enjoy this year’s Pumpkin Show.
Written and submitted by Pastor Ty Myers, Emmanuel UMC and Zion UMC, Pickaway County Ministerial Association.