The first thing I ate at the Circleville Pumpkin Show this past weekend was a fried oyster sandwich. I know, I know. Not only does it not contain pumpkin, but it’s not even from Ohio. I didn’t care. I was hungry and the month has an “R” in it. Some silly theme wasn’t going to keep me from trying them.
After a bite or two, though, I felt both disappointed and ashamed. Oysters taste better with bubbly or Maya (preferably both) and I had come to Circleville to eat pumpkin-flavored stuff, hadn’t I?
This revelation was solidified as I choked down the final few bites of bready land-locked seafood and Baseball Boy got himself a slice of pumpkin pie from one of the church stands. The faithful of Circleville must have spent a week baking pumpkin pie, because there was no shortage of the stuff. From the Methodists to the Nazarines, each congregation had a pie or 100 to sell. BB’s slice was great and without a doubt the best of the pumpkin-themed fare we’d find.
The show, a free pumpkin-themed fair that takes over downtown Circleville every October, was packed this year, perhaps a successful victim of the “stay-cation.” You can’t beat free.
You can’t beat camels, either.
Although my next purchase did not include pumpkin, it was Ohio-ey, at least. When I ordered the fried bologna sandwich from these kids, they asked if I wanted cheese. I had a bout of temporary amnesia and asked, “Should I get it with cheese?” The correct answer, of course, was yes. I love cheese. What was I thinking?
My “cheese” turned out to be a Kraft (or knockoff brand) single. Not quite cheese. But to be fair, I thought that cheese was orange and was made by pouring milk into a mold (like the commercials) until I was at least 19, so I’ll give the Methodists a break. The sandwich, tucked with a little nab of mustard, was delicious.
Next on the list was the pumpkin crepe. It seemed like a great idea until I actually saw it. This, I might add, was with my request for them to withhold half of the candy and all of the praline sauce. Two bites was both disappointing and enough.
I saw a large crowd starting to gather near a bakery behind all of the street vendors, and we wandered off course for a bit. This pie, in the window of Lindsey’s Bakery, held 96 pounds of cooked pumpkin and 36 pounds of pie dough, according to a sign inside. I overheard a man tell his son that because the pie was dirty and had so many germs, the custom is for the bakery to throw the pie into a field for pigs to eat. I heard it on the street, so it must be true.
The next find was pumpkin chili. This stuff had a tiny bit of pumpkin flavor and was, as Baseball Boy eloquently put it, a “step below Wendy’s.”
I was excited to see the pumpkin waffles, after reading about them on a Columbus Underground thread. The bright orange deep-fried “waffles” were crispy, light and cheap. ($1.75 a piece.)
Had I not already consumed $20 (and pounds) worth of food, I probably would have ordered three more of these.
We were pretty full by the time we got around to finding the actual pumpkins for which the show is named. A contest for the largest pumpkin produced these beauties, with the largest weighing in at more than 1600 pounds. I felt like I weighed at least half of that by the time we left.
On our way out, we accidentally lingered too long near the Hey Hey stand, which meant that we’d have to find more space for food. I don’t get down to the Hey Hey nearly enough (and can never figure out how to get there) so it was imperative that I eat their potato pancakes and fried sauerkraut balls while I had a chance.
The pancakes were to die for, and I’ll be making a trip down to the Hey Hey soon. As we drove past German Village on the way back to Columbus, I was tempted to see if we could stop at the bar for seconds, but decided against it. A girl need to know when to say enough.
Circleville Pumpkin Show
159 East Franklin Street
Circleville, Ohio 43113