Davis County will be bursting with activity this coming weekend with seven major events scheduled for Friday and Saturday: The Giant Pumpkin Bash, Motor Show, Fall Festival, Quilt show, Fall Farm Fun Day, Antique Fest and Flea Market and grand opening of The Quad.
Giant Pumpkin Bash
Bloomfield’s Seventh Annual Giant Pumpkin Bash will attract giant pumpkin growers from a multi-state area as contestants weigh-in their exhibits between 9 a.m. and noon on the north side of the courtyard, organizer Dave Davis said.
Prizes will not only be awarded for the largest soft-stem pumpkins, but giant field pumpkins, giant watermelons, bushel gourds, long gourds, marrows, and tomatoes.
Davis says he has been contacted by pumpkin growers from Wisconsin, Kansas, and Iowa, but he expects growers from at least five different states to attend. Jacob Marintzer of Kansas who won the 2019 and 2020 Pumpkin Bashes is expected to attend.
“We could see a new state record set here,” Davis said. “There is an Iowa pumpkin coming that could break the 1,800.5-lb. current record.”
Davis also said he is looking for a big watermelon or two coming out of Kentucky or Kansas. Last year’s biggest melon at the Giant Pumpkin Bash weighed 248 lbs.
Davis County growers participating in the event include Davis, who won third place in the Iowa State Fair’s Giant Pumpkin contest with a 1018-lb. pumpkin and expects to have a 500-lb. pumpkin for this event; Tim Hopkins and his wife who will have two pumpkins weighing over 1,000 or 1,100 lbs. each; Dwight and Sarah Miller are expected to bring watermelons and marrows; Doran McClure will have a “decent” watermelon and perhaps a field pumpkin; Dave Bennett is expected to have “a pretty good watermelon and bushel gourd,” Davis said.
Davis said his entry in Saturday’s event is a “surprise” pumpkin that he discovered on the vine of his State Fair entry after returning from the fair.
“When I got home from the fair, I discovered a 200-lb. pumpkin in the weeds that I didn’t notice while loading the State Fair pumpkin. I hope I can get it to 500 lbs.,” he said.
Davis said the public may weigh and exhibit fruits beyond those listed above, but prize money will only be given in the designated categories.
Davis said one of the reasons Bloomfield’s Giant Pumpkin Bash is successful may be the location. “We are in the right spot — centrally located in the Midwest,” he said.
Bloomfield’s grower group is expanding and Davis wants the public to know local growers are willing to help others get started. “We’ll talk to anyone and not hold any secrets,” he said. “We have plenty of seeds to get people started.”
The Southern Iowa Giant Pumpkin Grower’s Association (SIGPGA) includes growers from Mt. Pleasant, Wapello, Appanoose, and Davis Counties. The group hosts two seed auctions per year to fund prize money.
Davis said over $9,000 in prize money will be distributed to the winners at this year’s event.
“We would also appreciate people getting a bite to eat while at Saturday morning’s weigh-off,” Davis said. “There will be hamburgers from the DC Cattlemen, beef hotdogs, pork loin sandwiches prepared by the DC Pork Producers, chips, pop, water, coffee, Amish donuts, and desserts.”
Proceeds will help SIGPGA fund future events.
Bloomfield Main Street will be hosting a Motor Show on Madison Street along the west side of the square from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
Registration is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon in the following categories: cars, trucks, motorcycles, and UTVs. There is no pre-registration, but organizer Lonnie Taylor expects to have anywhere from 50-100 vehicles in the show.
Awards will be given to the top two vehicles in each class. Taylor said awards will also go to Best of Show, Best Paint, Best Engine and Best Interior. Awards will be presented at 3 p.m.
A People’s Choice award will be given and those who wish to vote will be given a ballot when they purchase food at one of the food vendors on the square. People’s Choice ballots must be submitted by 2 p.m.
“We’re attempting to not flood the bucket with (duplicate) votes,” Taylor said.
Main Street Executive Director Jennifer Cutler and Taylor are asking vehicle owners to enter the show area at the intersection of Highway 63 and Franklin Street. Taylor will be present to guide vehicles to their display area.
The Davis County Courtyard will be full of activities Saturday during Bloomfield Main Street’s Fall Festival.
The Farmer’s Market in the south courtyard will open the festivities with numerous vendors and the Coffee Can truck present from 9 a.m.-noon.
Registration for eating contests is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Main Street Executive Director Jen Cutler said those interested in participating should sign up early as only 10 participants will be allowed in each category. Ages 13 and up may enter either the hot dog or cinnamon roll category. Ages 8-12 will be eating cupcakes.
The eating contests are timed.
Promotion Committee Co-Chair Justin Oswalt said free kids’ games will take place on the southeast corner of the square from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. IS Boutique will be sponsoring a pumpkin toss, and Go Gourmet will create a flurry activity as kids participate in their hay scramble.
Davis County Extension will provide materials and coach kids as they make bird feeders. Diamond Line Marketing is hosting a Plinko game.
DCHS art students and Art Club members will be doing face painting and assisting children with pumpkin painting. Pumpkin painters will be able to take their decorated pumpkins home. Pumpkins are being provided by the Lynch family.
Vendors’ tables offering a wide variety of items will be set up in the courtyard between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The Bloomfield Optimist Club will offer free snow cones from 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Cutler said several businesses in the downtown area will also be offering specials during the festival.
Fall Farm Fun Day
The Red Shed, two miles west of Bloomfield on Highway 2, will offer good, old-fashioned fun during its Fall Farm Fun Day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 24.
Families will be able to take a step back in time as they help make apple cider, run a hand corn sheller, play corn hole, go on an “I Spy” hayride with 15 items to find, and find their way through a corn maze.
Other activities include gravity wagon basketball, a bounce house, and painting a Breyer horse.
Owner Joe Dotterer said the activities will be free during Fall Farm Fun Day on Sept. 24
Most of the activities will also be available through October with the purchase of an activity ticket.
Midwest Antique Fest and Flea Market
The Midwest Antique Fest and Flea Market is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 24, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Davis County Fairgrounds. An early bird event will take place from 9-11 a.m. Friday.
The event will have over 80 booths including gourds and pumpkins as well as quilts, primitives, seed bags, furniture, repurposed finds, handmade crafts and “some good ole junk,” said business owner Jack Bishop.
Vendor booths are still available and may be scheduled by calling 417-883-0570.
See the Quilt Show article on page 2A.
Grand opening of The Quad
See this article on page 3A.