CIRCLEVILLE — The Circleville Pumpkin Show Committee has been named the 2021 Ned Harden Goodwill Ambassador Award winner by the Pickaway County Visitors Bureau.
Nathan Wilson, Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director, presented Barry Keller, Pumpkin Show Vice President, with a commemorative plaque at their Food and Music Festival last weekend.
The Ned Harden Goodwill Ambassador Award was named after Harden due to his dedication to the visibility of the Pumpkin Show and Pickaway County and is given to recognize individuals and groups who embody those principals. Harden died in 2009.
Previous winners include the Commercial Point Men’s Club in 2017, Steve Tatman in 2016 and Darlene Weaver in 2015.
“This years recipient is not only a promoter of tourism, but also helps shape the very culture of Pickaway County,” he said when making the announcement.
“The impact this organization has had not only limited to the dates in which they host events, but it’s brought people to Pickaway County who have seen the amenities here and have come back time and time again. Their tradition goes back over 100 years and in recent years, has brought in over 400,000 visitors to Circleville.”
In addition to their work, Wilson talked about what the Pumpkin Show has inspired in others.
“The work of this organization has also helped others develop their own traditions, whether it be making a six-foot-wide pumpkin pie, cultivating enormous pumpkins or painting a unique water tower,” he said.
“With all the work they do in our community and for all the visitors they bring to our community, this year, the Pickaway County Visitor’s Bureau recognizes the Circleville Pumpkin Show Inc. as the 2021 Ned Harden Goodwill Ambassador.”
Keller, who was a young volunteer working with Harden, spoke about what Harden did.
“Ned was involved in the parades, took queens to all over the United States to visits other festivals and was eventually vice president for many, many years,” he said.
“I got to know Ned when I became a volunteer at the Pumpkin Show and he was a great asset to the Pumpkin Show. I am honored we can receive the award in his name.”
Keller spoke about the 2021 show, following a year where the Pumpkin Show didn’t happen.
“As you know, we’re preparing for the 114th edition of the Circleville Pumpkin Show and we are planning full-steam ahead to have a full-blown Pumpkin Show,” Keller said to applause from the crowd.
“We’re excited for people to be here and it’s not possible without the Pumpkin Show volunteers and the Pumpkin Show Board. It takes those volunteers and their leadership to make this festival as successful as it is and bring 400,000 people to Circleville in October.”