Dundee’s Pumpkin Palooza promises fun and free entertainment Oct. 1

DUNDEE — What started as a giant pumpkin weigh-in 23 years ago on Harnica Kids Pumpkin Farms has grown into a wallop of a fall festival. 

Joe Platte brought this 2,110-pound pumpkin to the 2021 Pumpkin Palooza in Dundee.

Pumpkin Palooza is on Saturday, Oct. 1, and promises a jam-packed day of free and fun activities for the whole family. 

The Downtown Development Authority took the event over from John Harnica, who retired from hosting the event, five years ago. 

“Before we took it over, it was in Dundee. We decided as a DDA we wanted to keep it here in Dundee. We went from just weighing pumpkins the first year to weighing the pumpkins and a vendor show and then a bigger vendor show, and some food trucks. Well, this year we have the pumpkin weigh-off. We have 75 vendors coming. We have food trucks. We have free pumpkin carving for kids while supplies last, bounce houses for the kids, no cost,” DDA secretary and Pumpkin Palooza chairperson Mary Schultz said.  

The heaviest squash at the 2021 Pumpkin Palooza in Dundee weighed 1,464 pounds and set a state record. It was brought by John Harnica.

The festival also has a petting zoo that is free and a pony ride which has a minimal cost. There’s a trick-or-treat stop for kids in the vendor show near the DDA Candy Stop banner. Kids should stop at the Kiwanis area first.  

“At (the Kiwanis Club) station where they do games with the kids, they’re going to be passing out specific treat bags. So these kids can take these specific treat bags to a stop in the vendor show and they will get about a pound worth of trick-or-treat candy. So we have a quarter-ton of candy that we’re going to be passing out to these kids,” Schultz said. 

The heaviest tomato at the 2021 Pumpkin Palooze in Dundee weighed 4.55 pounds and was brought in by Richard Boutain.

Many new vendors will be attending this year along with some of the crowd’s original favorites at the vendor show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be woodworking, jewelry, Scentsy, Salsa, Pampered Chef and soaps plus a whole lot more. 

The weigh-off will be in the municipal parking lot at 350 W. Monroe St., along the north side of the River Raisin and across the river from the Old Mill Museum. Registration takes place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with the weigh-off starting promptly at 11 a.m. Palooza goers can park off site and shuttle over.  

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