Annual Pumpkin Festival Returns in Person

After the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled festivities in 2020, the annual Milton Pumpkin Festival returned in 2021 to continue its 35-year tradition.  

The festival began in 1986, with the goal of helping farmers who raise and sell pumpkins. 

Now, it has become a way for West Virginians to celebrate the fall season.  

Vendors from around the state gather to showcase their products at the festival.

There are many different items for attendees to see, from soap to wood carvings.

Each vendor runs their business in West Virginia, whether their business is a full-time job or a hobby.  

Connie Sue Boggess of Good Horse Scents started making her soaps and skin care products in 2011.

She began selling at the festival in 2016 and has since attended annually.

They are just a few of the many handmade creations available at the festival.  

Greg Cartwright, the creator of Cartwright creations, uses West Virginian wood to create pens.

He refers to his business as a retirement jobby, a combination of a job and a hobby.

He sells his products mostly out of local craft shows but enjoys custom work as well. 

“I love to do special projects, somebody gets me a piece of wood from the old family barn, and I can make pens for the family for Christmas,” said Cartwright. 

Of the 55 counties in West Virginia, Cartwright has collected wood from all except four. 

His collection includes wood from Marshall’s campus.

He has wood from an old pew that was in the Campus Christian Center, wood from the original shelving of Morrow Library and trees that had been torn down on campus. 

Terri Holly produces handmade jewelry out of her art glass studio, The Fire Within. 

“It is Kiln-formed glass, so you fire it in a kiln at about 1500 degrees, so a lot of these pieces have been fired at least twice,” Holly said. “They are usually fired at least twice. The first firing fuses the glass together, while the second firing I have to usually grind down and reshape it, and then fire it again.” 

She has many different necklaces and charms that fit different themes.

She began attending the pumpkin Festival three years ago and has been making her jewelry for about six years.  

Advisor Brooke Neal has been attending the festival since 2016 to sell their homemade apple butter. 

“We actually just started out with regular and sugar free, we have also added vanilla and maple,” Neal said. “This year we also made pumpkin butter, and it seems to be a hit so far!”  

Neal and her husband are advisors of their apple butter company, where they teach students to produce fresh apple butter as a part of their agricultural education.

They plan to continue to attend in the future.  

The annual Pumpkin Festival will continue for upcoming years providing opportunities for local vendors as well as events and activities for the attendees.