Next Saturday, Oct. 20, the little city of Ottertail is gearing up to host its Pumpkin Festival, with funds raised at the family-friendly event going back into the community to help kids and local residents in need.
The annual Pumpkin Festival has become a popular tradition in Ottertail, drawing in a few hundred people each year. Sponsored and supported by many of the town's businesses and civic organizations, the event is primarily organized by The Williams Company Store and Buehler's Produce.
With pumpkin carving and pie-throwing contests for kids, face painting, old-fashioned carnival games, kiddie train rides, live music, dancing and food served on site, the festival is a fun way to raise funds for kids' programs offered through the local United Way.
"The event is for children and the money is for children," summed up Marnie Whitehead, who co-owns The Williams Company Store with her husband, Dan. "Everybody just kind of comes together for it."
Bratwurst and pulled pork will be served at the festival, and there will also be a chili cook-off. Kids will have the chance to enter a drawing for a bike giveaway.
Freewill donations made at the festival will go to the United Way's Weekend Feeding Backpack program, Summer Splash program and Crisis Nursery, all of which directly benefit children in Otter Tail and Wadena counties.
This year's Ottertail Pumpkin Festival will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The festival is held almost entirely outdoors, outside The Williams Company store in the heart of downtown Ottertail. Buehler's donates all the pumpkins for the event.
"It's really a family event," said Dan Whitehead. "There's going to be something for everyone to do."