Pumpkin Fest 2018 — Part 1

Good morning and welcome to the blog.  Saturday was the annual Pumpkin Fest celebration in Anamosa, drawing pumpkins and people from all over the Midwest.  It was an absolute blast as they weighed pumpkins and festival goers enjoyed good food, music, a parade, etc.  Pumpkin Fest is the biggest event of the year in this tiny town.

So many pictures were taken that even downsizing them, it will take two posts.  I’ve divided the photos into two groups – parade and non-parade activities.  Today I’ll post the non-parade fun and introduce some local friends.  On Tuesday the parade pics will automatically post.  The plan is to keep the chatter to a minimum and just add some captions!  So here are some fun activities and some of my local pals!  —  VT

Saturday morning chili cook-off. Four local cooks provided the chili. I tried them all!


The chili cook-off was sponsored by the local Fareway grocery store. In the red shirt is Jeremy, the meat manager. Bryan, the General Manager, is on the right. For $2 a person gets 4 small cups to sample the offerings.  A small pumpkin candy is given to the purchaser and when you choose a favorite dish, you place it in a container in front of that crock pot.

Anamosa Mayor (and Sheriff’s deputy) Dale sampling one of the chili dishes.  I took a seat next to him and sat on the yellow softener salt bags.   🙂

After selecting the favorite chili I bought a chili dog.  Managers Bryan and Jeremy were selling them for $3.  The purchaser receives a hot dog bun and a warm hot dog… then goes back to favorite crockpot and loads up the hot dog with chili and, optionally, sour cream, cheese, onions, etc.  Sadly, I went back for a heartburn inducing second chili dog because they were so good!  No word on who won the chili contest.

This is Cork. He was patiently sitting in a utility vehicle waiting for his owner. I spoke with Deb, his owner, and gave me some plain hot dog. We exchanged slobber… What a fun little guy!

Main street getting busier with festival folks as Mother Nature threatens with rain (which held off until after it was all over)

Red, white, blue, and tenderloin sandwiches… Gotta love the Midwest.

Fishing buddy Steve enjoying a pork tenderloin. They were big, thick, and juicy – breaded pork at it’s finest!

Tyler and Emily F., two former (and some of the nicest) managers from McDonald’s. Not sure of the little boy’s name but the girl on Tyler’s shoulders is Adriana.

Meghan, James, Branson (right) and Michael (left). I worked with Meghan at Walmart and McDonald’s. She’s always smiling! Now she serves up high quality meat products at the Fareway grocery store.

Mini pumpkin bundt cake – about the size of a donut.

After milling around and eating well, it was time to park along Main Street and enjoy the parade.  Those pictures will be posted soon.  Thanks for visiting today!   Happy camping!

Just one more thing… Here is an autumn recipe idea that turned out well in the kitchen at home today.  I used an acorn squash (“squarsh” if you are from Buchanan County, Iowa).  It’s hollowed out.  The dressing was just “Stove Top” for pork.  I used pork sausage and added onions, celery, dried cranberries and a little unsweetened applesauce from the food pantry.  The f;avors worked very well, adding a bit of Autumn flavor.  The squash was baked for an hour at 350 degrees using some butter and pumpkin pie spice… I added the stuffing and baked a bit longer. This idea would work very well over a campfire.

Take care!!


Brad and Jenny
Jones County, Iowa

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About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"

4 Responses to Pumpkin Fest 2018 — Part 1

  1. Jo Harmon says:

    Looks like a fun day with lots of food and it all sounds yummy.

    Going to try your new recipe now that the weather is finally changing using the oven will be OK.

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi Jo and thanks for the note! Squash is so tasty and good for you! We’re getting rain after rain — more flooding again in Cedar Rapids. Fishing is really bad again. Oh well, there’s other stuff to do. Take care!

  2. my_vantasy says:

    Looks like alot of fun. The weather held out for us tent camping, too. I have tried to like squash (LOL squarsh, like the warshing machines we have in Southeastern Ohio), but so far have never enjoyed it. I will give it one more shot with your recipe. I make Brad’s Tasty Smoked Catfish about every other week, it’s so good!

    • VanTrekker says:

      Hi! Yep, squarsh is just like warshing your clothes (which I even say, being an Iowan!). I’m glad you like the smoked catfish. It’s fun and tasty – so much different than people usually enjoy catfish. Fun stuff. Take care and stay dry out that way. We’re sending more rain in that direction.