This far famed and unique agricultural exhibit and street fair had its
humble origin in October, 1903, when George R. Haswell, then Mayor of
Circleville, and superintendent of the water works, conceived the idea
of holding a small exhibit in front of his place on West Main Street.
Corn fodder and pumpkins (many of them cut into Jack-O-Lanterns) formed
the principal decorations, and were responsible for it being dubbed
"the pumpkin show". On the following year Mr. Haswell was joined by some
enterprising neighborhood merchants and the exhibition grew steadily
in its scope, interest and attendance. The first merry-go-round was
set up at the corner of Main and Scioto Streets for the 1905 show.
Later a permanent organization (of which the Mayor is always president
in honor of the founder) made up entirely of volunteers, resolved to
hold an annual Pumpkin Show on the streets of Circleville for the
purpose of maintaining and promoting a more friendly relationship with
the patrons and visitors of the community, and to further promote and
extend agricultural pursuit and to award premiums for the display of grain,
fruits and vegetables, school displays, and such other displays that
are best calculated to promote the best interests of Circleville
and Pickaway County.
Every alert to keep the Pumpkin Show fair, clean and above reproach in
every respect has contributed largely to its becoming the sixth largest
festival in the United States with an annual attendance in four days and
nights of over 300,000 persons and its claim to being the "GREATEST
FREE SHOW ON EARTH" as no admission charge or entry fee is made.
On August 8, 1946 a non-profit corporation, the Circleville Pumpkin Show,
Inc., was formed for the operation of the Pumpkin Show and any profits
to be derived from the Show was to be used for the betterment of the citizens
and several thousands of dollars have been turned over to the City of
Circleville for community projects. The Circleville Pumpkin Show receives
no subsidy or support and must operate on income and donations and is
entirely self-supporting, even to the point of reimbursing the City of
Circleville for the additional expense of extra police duty and all extra
duty help employed by the City for the purpose of conducting the
Circleville Pumpkin Show.
No special recognition is given any individual or group of
individuals as the success of the Show is due to complete cooperation
of everyone in Circleville and the Pickaway County area. The Circleville
Pumpkin Show really is best explained by the Third Article of the
Constitution which reads as follows:
"The purpose or purposes for which said corporation is formed are: To
provide for and hold an annual Pumpkin Show upon the streets of Circleville,
Ohio, and to promote and encourage fellowship among patrons, visitors, and
citizens of the community, and to promote the general welfare of
agriculture, manufacturing, and mercantile interests of the City and
surrounding territory and to demonstrate the resources of Pickaway County,
and for such other purposes as may be incident to and to all things
reasonably necessary and proper to carry out said purposes."
It is the plans of the Circleville Pumpkin Show Inc. to perpetuate the
Show as an annual affair, to improve features each year as interest
and finances permit, and to keep our slogan "THE GREATEST FREE SHOW ON
EARTH" a reality.