Operation Pumpkin returns to Hamilton this weekend with zip line, more

HOW TO GO

WHAT: Operation Pumpkin

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

WHERE: Downtown Hamilton

ADMISSION: Free admission and free parking. Food and other items will be available for purchase.

MORE INFO: www.operation-pumpkin.org and the Operation Pumpkin Facebook page

Attracting over 20,000 guests to downtown, Operation Pumpkin has quickly grown to be one of Hamilton’s signature events. Typically, the event draws guests from a 50-mile radius, and beyond.

The event returns this weekend.

“Our initial goal was to draw people to downtown Hamilton. Now, with all the growth, and the growing art community, and the new businesses and new living spaces, we wanted to promote that and let everyone know what’s going on. The festival is a way to say, come see us,” said event co-chair, Tammy Snyder, who chairs the event with her husband, and event founder, Jason Snyder.

We are doing what we set out to achieve, and to us, that’s a success. We have this fun festival with giant pumpkins, but we’re also bringing people downtown, so they can see what else it has to offer, she said.

The annual fall festival will return for its fifth season on Friday, Oct. 7, through Sunday, Oct. 9.

With a focus on pumpkins, the event will feature about 40 professionally sculpted pumpkins, a sanctioned, giant pumpkin weigh-off and a decorated pumpkin display with 1,200 decorated pumpkins, which are crafted by fourth-grade students from Hamilton-area schools.

Operation Pumpkin is a sanctioned event by the Southern Ohio Giant Pumpkin Growers Association (www.sogpg.com.) With the sanctioned event, there will be giant pumpkin weigh-offs, which will begin on Friday afternoon. Competitors will have pumpkins on display that weigh up to 2,000 pounds, or more, as well as watermelons, tomatoes and long gourds. The top three winners will receive cash prizes. The first place prize is $4,000 (with an additional $500 if the pumpkin breaks last year’s record.)

“Last year, we set the record for the state of Ohio for the largest pumpkin, which weighed 2,008 pounds. And the year before, we set the record for the largest watermelon,” Snyder said.

New this year, there will be zip line that runs down Court Street. The festival will also offer live entertainment from the Amy Sailor Band on Friday night at 7 p.m. On Saturday evening, Naked Karate Girls will take the stage at 7 p.m. Among other highlights, The Lil’ Miss Punkin contest on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. is always popular every year. More than 100 food and craft vendors will participate

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