jex-08202020-nws-pumpkinfest-a01

The eventual winning pumpkin is loaded onto a forklift before being taken to the scale during the 2019 Ryan Norlin Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off. The weigh off is still on for 2020, while the rest of the schedule is either canceled or up in the air.

Anamosa

Like most things in 2020, Anamosa’s annual Pumpkinfest is being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to make some changes to this year’s Anamosa Pumpkinfest and Ryan Norlin Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off. We will not be having the vendors and activities on Main Street, including the parade. However, as of now, the weigh-off is still on, along with some of the other annual Pumpkinfest activities, including the Pumpkin Roll, raffle and a few other things we will be announcing soon,” a post on the event’s Facebook page stated Aug. 5. “We hope you all understand why we had to make this very difficult decision.”

Anamosa Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director LeeAnna Boone said planning for the event usually begins in February or March. So, when the pandemic hit, the committee didn’t have much time to meet, though they stayed in communication through email.

“By late spring, early summer, we’re usually turning people away. I didn’t have a vendor contact me until June to see what was going on,” Boone said.

They are hoping the public will still be able to come in and see the contest entries for the weigh-off, even if limits have to be placed on how many people are allowed in at a time. A decision on that likely won’t be made until September.

“Our ultimate goal is everyone’s safety. We just feel like we have to wait and see what happens before we really decide,” Boone said.

While the decision was a difficult one and one the committee struggled with, Boone said the cancelation gives the group a chance to brainstorm and look at ways to improve the event for the future. The post that announced the cancelation of certain aspects of the event also sought ideas from the public that could be mulled over in the coming months.

“What can we do to update it, maybe, to do more things that people want to do,” she said.

One of the things that has already been brought up is whether there will be a theme for this year. The theme for the year plays into the themes for the parade float. After being canceled for the first time ever due to weather last year, this makes it two years in a row that the parade will not take place.

As for whether this year has a theme, Boone said that wasn’t something they had considered, and it was going to be a topic at their next meeting.

“Maybe we can have some fun tongue and cheek thing this year. I don’t know yet,” Boone said.

What exactly the other events will be at this year’s event will be discussed at the group’s next meeting.

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