Great pumpkins and more

pumpkin show

Photo credit: Circleville Pumpkin Show

By Michael Leach

The Midwest may lack dramatic rocky spires of the West or the endless vistas along ocean shores. But our open countryside, wooded hills and forests make kaleidoscopic spectacles themselves in autumn that make aspens and white sand seem little more than monochromatic bores.

Many Midwest pumpkin-centric events are already past but others lie ahead. (Please check

One of the biggest and oldest is the Circleville Pumpkin Show (OH) show, Oct. 16-19.

Weigh-in at Circleville Pumpkin Show

Weigh-in at Circleville Pumpkin Show

Started in 1903 as a way to help city and country people come together, it stretches eight blocks in the town, about 30 minutes south of downtown Columbus. Rides, food booths, games, craft vendors, and pumpkins by the thousands, including the champions that can weigh about half a ton.

According to Pumpkin Nook,  there’s the Sitllwater, MN, Harvestfest and Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off Oct. 12; and two events in Wisconsin, the Mishicot Pumpkin Fest  Oct. 19 and the Nekoosa Giant Pumpkin Festival Oct. 5

Other fall fruits are celebrated at the Chicago Botanical Garden with its Midwest Fruit Explorers Show & Sale  Oct. 19-20. Stars of this show include apples, pears, paw paws, grapes and kiwis. Tasting and information on growing fruit planned. Apples, cider and more for sale.

hopsAnother plant — hops —  takes center stage at the Missouri Botanical Garden Fest-of-Ale  Oct. 18  6-9 p.m. It’s the  6th annual celebration of local beer.

True, the season brims with necessary and optional garden chores, but don’t spend all your time working. Savor this season by taking frequent breaks in the garden, and walking in nearby parks, botanical gardens, arboretums, forests or country lanes.

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