Friday, Sept. 30, 2016
DOWNTOWN RAPID CITY, SD –A pumpkin weighing 1,292 pounds won the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off at the eighth annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, Sept. 24. The pumpkin was grown by Kevin Marsh, of Parker.
Marsh received $1,000 in the contest sponsored by Black Hills State University – Rapid City and Black Hills Surgical Hospital. Winning $750 with a 981-pound pumpkin was Dustin Grubbs, of Scotts Bluff, NE. Elaine Hook, of Rapid City, received $500 for a 573-pound pumpkin. Jerry Hook, of Rapid City, won fourth place and $300 with a 488-pound pumpkin, and Virginia Reidt and Broc Kilber, of Rapid City, received fifth place and $100 with a 421-pound pumpkin.
Ethan Hook, of Rapid City, received $300 for the largest squash, one that weighed 91 pounds. James and Kathy Layns, of Rapid City, won the Howard Dill Award, and $100, for the prettiest pumpkin. Bill McElroy, of Rapid City, won the ugliest pumpkin award, and $100. Marsh also won for the biggest watermelon award, for one that weighed 157 pounds. Rapid City is a certified weigh-off site for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, an international organization.
The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival major event sponsor was Hungry For Truth and is a community-wide celebration of the harvest season. The festival was held in Main Street Square, on Sixth St., in the City Hall Parking Lot and in Memorial Park. More than an estimated 25,000 people attended the one-day festival, which featured more than 60 vendors, the Harvest Market sponsored by South Dakota State University, the Regional Health and Scull Construction Kidz Zone, a concert stage sponsored by Hotel Alex Johnson, a pumpkin catapult competition sponsored by RESPEC, a pumpkin carving contest sponsored by HomeSlice Media Group, a Downtown Chef Challenge sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen, and a coloring contest.
Cody Bartels, from (kōl), won the fifth annual Downtown Chef Challenge with a braised short rib and pumpkin ravioli dish. Downtown chefs were asked to prepare a dish featuring pumpkin, and the dishes were judged by Jennifer Hauf, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology Food Service Director, Eric Gardner, of KOTA, and Gunner, of 100.3 the Fox. Second in the competition sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen was Richard Adams of the Hotel Alex Johnson, and third was Daniel Orwa of Murphy’s Pub & Grill. All winners received gift certificates from Someone’s in the Kitchen. Other downtown restaurants represented were The Blind Lion Speakeasy, and ¿Que Pasa? Cantina.
“The festival celebrates the arrival of fall and showcases the colors of the season, while drawing visitors and residents to the heart of our city,” said Megan Whitman, executive director of Main Street Square. “More than 25,000 people attended this beloved community event and experience all that Downtown Rapid City has to offer.”
Five teams from the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Production at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and, new this year, two teams from Central High School and one team from Douglas High School built catapults to fling pumpkins hundreds of feet in Memorial Park, in a contest hosted by RESPEC. Central High School Team #1 won the traveling trophy with a total of 797 points.
Other activities were a drum demonstration by the Stevens High School and Central High School drum lines, a performance by Lang Termes, and family entertainment led by JDProductions.
HomeSlice Media Group held a pumpkin carving contest with Morris Norby winning “Most Artful Carving” and Mary Rose Winder winning “People’s Choice Award.” Event attendees voted on their favorite, with Winder’s pumpkin receiving the most votes. All proceeds from the pumpkin carving contest entry fee were donated to Toys for Tots.
A Downtown Pub Crawl wrapped up the festivities. More than 70 participants visited 445 Martini Lounge, Brass Rail Lounge, Ciao! Italian Eatery, Firehouse Brewing Company, Firehouse Wine Cellars, The Gold Bison Grill at the Rushmore Plaza – Holiday Inn, The Historic Freight House, Independent Ale House, Main Street Square, Murphy’s Pub & Grill, Oasis Lounge, Paddy O’Neill’s, Press Start, ¿Que Pasa? Cantina, Thirsty’s, Tinder Box, VFW Post 1273 and Wobbly Bobby.
Event sponsors included Hungry For Truth, RESPEC, Black Hills State University – Rapid City, Black Hills Surgical Hospital, South Dakota State University, Hotel Alex Johnson, Someone’s in the Kitchen, Regional Health, Scull Construction, and Quality Brands of the Black Hills.
For more information on the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival, visit MainStreetSquareRC.com, call 605-716-7979, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the Main Street Square office at 512 Main St., Ste. 980.