Part 1: The Part about Pumpkins
At the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival — taking place off I-64 in Milton this weekend, a town whose four-paneled brochure advertises Shonet’s Country Café and Aunt B’s Bakery and Barbeque — there is pumpkin fudge, pumpkin pie, pumpkin dip, pumpkin coffee, pumpkin spice tea, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin rolls, pumpkin cupcakes, pumpkin butter, and “punkin dumplin’,” and in the overstimulated haze of cardboard trays filled with cheese fries and people masticating their way through corndogs, I likely missed a few key permutations.
Not a great start to my pumpkin gorging. Brittney claimed to like it, but her face hinted at skepticism.
Then I moved on to pumpkin ice cream, which, when you think about it, falls into some strange liminal space between a summer and fall treat.
No matter how many times we took this picture, it always looked mildly pornographic.
Eventually you get to the cone. It’s not made of pumpkin, in case you were curious. I actually think it’s made from packing peanuts.
The pumpkin coffee came from a booth run by the Huntington Optimist Club, which is actually a thing and which apparently used to run Just Say No. Yeah, you’ve got the t-shirt. The coffee was watery, which maybe should be expected considering its highly addictive properties, and also considering that it cost $1.
As we left later in the evening, I asked myself the obvious question: how can a pumpkin fair, which peddles blooming onions, French fries, “ribbon fries,” cheese fries, something named “porky cheese fries,” fried oreos, fried cheesestix (official spelling), fried corndogs, fried green tomatoes, deep fried pickles, and deep fried veggies (unspecified) – not also sell fried pumpkin?
Also, I forgot to buy a pumpkin.
Later, at home, I taste tested both my pumpkin cupcake and my pumpkin roll.
The cupcake, light and fluffy with a whip of icing on top, won out against the roll, which to my taste was too dense and filled with an icing almost gummy in texture.
Part 2: The Part About Other Foods
Aside from products containing pumpkin, most of the food at the festival fell into four distinct categories:
Amish friendship bread for the final check.
No meat for us.
Part 3: The Part About Crafts
Beyond the typical fare to be expected at a fall festival, I became fascinated by these framed Christmas trees made with various baubles.
I asked the woman who makes them whether there was a story behind her creations. She simply responded that she wanted to come up with something different and new to do. She’s been making them for about two years.
Goose costumes: exactly what they sound like.
Maybe one day when I am 72 years old with light blue permed hair, I’ll understand this. Oh, the myriad ways we have to express ourselves.
I already have regrets that I left these behind. And there were real matches in that matchbox. And yes, that’s a mouse skull. The first was made by Nitelly Glamour, and the last two were made by Pepper Pod Designs.
Another childhood throwback. I can remember my elementary-aged self pleading for a bigger bottle in which to funnel artificially colored sand. Why was assembling layers of pink and purple and blue and green granules so…awesome?
Part 4: The Part About The Dolls
Did they just eat that pumpkin fudge?