For 22 years the pumpkin reigned supreme in Eureka, Illinois. Beginning in 1939 the city fathers (and mothers) hosted a Pumpkin Festival that rivaled anything ever seen in Woodford County. Fifty-thousand people attended the festival in 1939, arriving by car and by special trains from all over central Illinois. World War II interfered with the annual event, and it was a biannual event from 1949 to 1961. In the early 1960s Libby moved its pumpkin processing plant to Morton and the Pumpkin Festival went with it.
Beth Harms Miller, Media Secretary for the Woodford County Historical and Genealogical Society, has researched every one of the festivals in detail. She has written a coffee-table-sized book that includes everything from the name of the horse Ronald Reagan rode on in the 1947 parade to the winners of the best peck of oats or the best three potatoes on a plate.
The Society is offering the book as a pre-order for $55 through the month of September, after which it will cost $70. Orders will also be taken at the Society's office at 112 N. Main St., Eureka, (next to the jewelry store). Mail-in orders can be sent to the Society and should include the name, address, e-mail address and phone number of the purchaser, how many books being purchased, and whether the book will be picked up in Eureka or if it is to be mailed. Shipping fee is $7.50 for one book plus $5 for each additional book.
For more information, call Beth at 309-275-8860 or Karen at 309-360-6772.