Pumpkin Festival
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FESTIVAL - Continued from Page 6

demonstration space in the Business Expo, according to Courtney Eeten, community development director for the Morton Chamber of Commerce. Vendors will be able to showcase their products and services. There will also be a car Cruise-In Sept. 12 at Lighthouse Buick GMC.


“The Morton community welcomes over 70,000 people each year for the Pumpkin Festival,” said Eeten in an email to the Pekin Daily Times. “With over 30 events, free entertainment and pumpkin food and fun, it’s a great family friendly event.”


The Morton Chamber of Commerce organized the first Pumpkin Festival in 1967 as an annual fundraiser and to celebrate the beginning of the pumpkin harvest and canning season at the Libby’s Pumpkin Plant in Morton, according to Brown. In 1978, Illinois Gov. James R. Thompson signed a proclamation declaring Morton to be “The Pumpkin Capital of the World.” The Libby’s Pumpkin Plant processes about 85 percent of the world’s canned pumpkin.


Brown added that, whatever the festival’s theme for that year may be, planners and organizers remain mindful of the event’s origins as a fundraising activity.


“A core mission of Pumpkin Festival is giving back,” she said “The Morton Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Morton Community Foundation continue to raise money for two endowment funds. Project Pumpkin fund allows us to provide access to the Morton Pumpkin Festival to local families in need. And the Festival Giveback fund allows us to partner with non profit and youth groups to give back a portion of the revenue from the Morton Pumpkin Festival through their support of festival activities and operations.”


The Advisory Committee also chooses a special project each year in the community to support, Brown added. This year’s project will be the redesign of Horseshoe Park, creating a natural landscaped area with added public seating. She believes that native plants that will be planted will not only make the park an aesthetically pleasing public gathering area, but will also aid the local pollinator population.


For more information on the Morton Pumpkin Festival, visit http://www.mortonpumpkinfestival.org.