Officially coined “Punkin Days,” this annual celebration in Floydada honors one of the area’s most unique crops – the pumpkin. The celebration of the harvest time takes place every year on the second Saturday of October; the Floydada Chamber of Commerce playing host to this nationally recognized event.
The 2017 celebration on Oct. 14 marks 30 years of Punkin Days.
The fun begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, with judging of the best decorated home and business.
On Friday, Oct. 13, the Friends of the Library Book Sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; BBQ Cook-Off check-in and set-up is 5 p.m.; BBQ Cook-Off preparation and cooking begins at 7:30 p.m. Saturday’s events start with the Lions Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m. and concludes with a live concert and street dance from 7-10 p.m.
As the profitable production of pumpkins began to increase, an idea began to take shape in the mind of a local producer and was passed on to the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber enlisted a few very determined citizens and the first “Punkin Day” was born in 1987.
The real patriarch of pumpkins was long-time farmer B.A. “Slim” Robertson. Robertson began with only 10 acres of the orange crop and as demand increased, so did his acreage. He became affectionately known as “The Pumpkin Man” and sold his pumpkins on the roadside next to him home, and later began shipping truckloads elsewhere.
Robertson’s claim to pumpkin fame was reinforced when several years ago, he received a letter from out-of-town addressed to “The Pumpkin Patch Southwest of Floydada, Texas.” Today the legacy left by “Slim” Robertson has triggered a surge of community pride and enthusiasm as Floydada has eagerly risen to fame as “the Pumpkin Capital, USA.”
The original Punkin Days Committee set forth a philosophy that continues three decades later, “Fun for Everyone!” Pumpkin decorating, pumpkin seed spitting contest, pumpkin bowling, a pumpkin “Glow,” pumpkin weight guessing, and the pumpkin pie eating contest are just a few of the day’s activities.
Other events include the Punkin Days BBQ Cook-off, Punkin Days Chili Cook-off, Cow Pattie Bingo. The Punkin Auction, 5K Walk and Run, and rope-making demos.
Those who are hungry will be gratified to know the Floydada Lions Club will be serving up “flap-jacks”” beginning around 7 a.m. The food vendors of all kinds will also be participating all day long. Event organizers explain, “You will definitely find some pieces of pumpkin pies.
Held in conjunction with Punkin Days each year is an arts and crafts fair, with more than 100 vender booths. Some vendors paint pumpkins on old found tools, others carve pumpkins out of wood for door stops, and still others make cards with pumpkins oh them, and a host of other artisans’ creations can be found.
A street dance and live concert will conclude the day’s events this year. The “Pumpkin Glow” will usher in the performers at 6:30 p.m. Western Swing, country and rock will entertain the crowed until 10 p.m.
Those attending Punkin Days will be able to buy pumpkins at Punkin Day. Various youth groups, such as the 4-H and Boy Scouts, sell the orange orbs as one of their most successful fundraisers each you.
Numerous community groups help with the celebration each year. Organizers say the event really takes the whole town coming together, and that’s one of the keys to the festival’s long-standing success.
Floydada’s varieties currently focus on the jack-o-lantern (12-25 lbs.), pie pumpkins (5-8 lbs.), Big Mac (100 lbs. and up) and the mini pumpkins (8 oz.). A few Atlantic Giants are produced weighing over 100 lbs., but they are difficult to ship.
Look at the cardboard crates at grocery stores holding the pumpkins. If they are labeled with “Pumpkin Pyle,” they came from Floydada. In this area, Pumpkin Pyle is the largest wholesaler.
Punkin Days is wholly funded by the generous donations of Floydada’s businesses and citizens.
Those who want to get their pumpkins straight from the field can visit the Assiter Punkin Ranch located just outside of Floydada. Most weekends, there are five generations of Assiters to welcome visitors. They are now raising pumpkins on 45 acres and growing 71 different varieties.
While at Punkin Days, be sure to ride the Punkin Train, watch Border Collie and German Shepherd demonstrations, enjoy the petting zoo and meet Andy.
For more information about Punkin Days, contact the Floydada Chamber of Commerce at www.floydadachamber.com or on Facebook: floydadachamberofcommerce; and The Assiter Punkin Ranch, www.punkinranch.com, or on Facebook: punkinranch.