Weather perfect for 105th Versailles Pumpkin Show

Wanda English Burnett, Editor

Weather for the 105th Versailles Pumpkin Show was ‘made to order’ and according to event chairman Jerry Gilpin, “it was a successful show.”

Even though it rained throughout the day on Wednesday, opening day for the Pumpkin Show, the skies cleared and by the evening it was business as usual on the square in Versailles. Royalty was crowned with South Ripley seniors taking both the King and Queen titles. Erik Demaree and Sally Adams smiled and accepted their crowns, gifts and flowers amidst the cheers from the crowd. First runners-up were Brandon Otter from Switzerland County and Kelley Wagner, representing the Southeastern Career Center. Second runners-up went to Jacob Hess of South Dearborn and Emily Waldron of Switzerland County.

Royalty continued to be named on Thursday evening as the Prince and Princess Pageant, sponsored by Ripley Publishing Co. took center stage at 7:00 p.m. First graders from area schools participated in a short parade led by the Versailles Police Department and South Ripley Jr. High Band.

Judges had their work cut out for them as they named Elyse Hunger, from Jac-Cen-Del the princess and Noah Arnold from Sunman Elementary, the prince. Their court was: first runners-up, Ava Billman, Sunman Elementary, and Isaac Rosenbarger, Milan Elementary; second runners-up: Emma Cutter from South Ripley and Alex Stephens from Jac-Cen-Del. All the contestants received trophies and ride tickets and were invited to ride in the parade on Saturday.

Despite a downpour of rain Thursday morning, baking enthusiasts began bringing their baked goodies into the newspaper’s office at 8:00 a.m. A total of 109 entries were judged by Louann Menchhofer, June Kieffer, Donna Lafary and Kelly Garcia. Criteria for the contest was that every entry had to contain pumpkin.

Winners of the 2007 Pumpkin Baking Contest were named on stage Thursday evening. They were:

• Kids category: Adam and Noah Clark of Columbus took first place for their chocolate chip cake; Jacob Snelling of Versailles took second place for his cake, and Olivia Gilpin, Versailles, placed third for her fudge entry.

• Cakes and Cake Rolls category: Owen Menchhofer, Holton, first; Rachael Kohlmeier, Holton, second, and Marsha Jones, Benham, third.

• Miscellaneous category: Vickie Wilson, Holton, placed first for her pumpkin pastry; Carla LaFollette, Delaware, placed second for her bread pudding entry; and Cary Snyder of Dillsboro, took third for pumpkin custard.

• Pie category: Lori Eggleston, Versailles, first; Angie Horan, Osgood, second; and Naomi Peaslee, Versailles, third.

• Bread and Rolls category: Dephane Smith, Milan, first; Theresa Elza, Versailles, second, and Rita Kocher, Shelbyville, third.

Judy Bruns of Milan was given the Best Decorated award for her two-layer cake and Jackie Murray, Versailles, was given the Best Baker Award for her pumpkin chili dip. She received $200 and was presented a plaque from Publisher Linda Chandler. Each of the other winners received cash awards.
The baked goods were sold in record time at a free will donation bake sale following the judging of the entries at noon at the newspaper office. The proceeds from the sale will go to the Harry Thompson Memorial Scholarship to benefit a local student going into the field of print journalism.

A pie eating contest with seniors from area schools drew an enthusiastic crowd Thursday night. Eight contestants each tried to eat the most pumpkin pie with their hands tied behind their backs to claim the title for their school. Deborah Fryer, Milan, and Trent Tucker, South Ripley were the winners. They each received $50 cash. The contest was sponsored by Ripley Publishing Co.

The work of many was rewarded when the St. Paul Lutheran Church float from Olean was named the best overall float in the parade for 2007. The float boasted hundreds of marigolds placed in various shades to spell out the church’s theme for their 150th celebration, “Faithful to our Lord through changing times.” The original pulpit from their church was on the float, along with a sign that was in German. The oldest members of the congregation, Lawrence Green and Alta Diem rode on the float. Four generations of the Diem family participated in the float with the congregation’s youngest baptized member, cradled in the arms of family. A replica of the stained glass window above the entrance of the church was made out of fabric and displayed on the back of the float.

Other winners in Saturday’s parade were:
• Best Youth Organization float - Jac-Cen-Del FFA, first place and South Ripley’s FFA, second place.
• Best Organization float - Family Connections, first place and Relay for Life, second place.
• Best Religions Organization float - Hopewell Baptist, first place, and Delaware Methodist, second place.
• Best Agriculture Business float - Patterson’s Nursery, first place and Franklin Feed Sales, second place.
• Best Business float - Welch Cabinets, first place and Friendship State Bank, second place.
• Oldest Antique car was a 1916 Model T by Brian Carpenter and the Best Horse Drawn entry was by Clarence Hunt.

There were 140 entries this year, according to Gilpin.

Following the parade, the giant pumpkins were weighed. William (Bill) Hughes of Versailles took the top prize this year in both the Open Class and County categories. In Open Class, his pumpkin weighed in at 802 pounds. Second place went to Wes Boyd of Westport, with a 791 pound pumpkin and Wilma Hughes took third place with her 741 pound pumpkin.

In the Ripley County class, Bill Hughes again took top place with his 613.5 pound pumpkin, Chrissy Anderson, Holton, placed second for her 515 pound pumpkin and Cory Welch, Versailles, took third place with a pumpkin weighing 462.5 pounds.

While this wasn’t a record setting year for the large vegetables, each pumpkin was nothing to sneeze at. They were heavy, just ask the Lions club members who helped to hoist the giants onto the scales.
The streets that were full of screaming children, music and laughter are back to normal, with the promise of next year bringing the same traditions people from Ripley County have been accustomed to - another Pumpkin Show already set for September 24-27, 2008.

Noah Arnold, son of Steve and Rebecca Stutz and Robert Arnold, Jr. representing Sunman Elementary School and Elyse Hunger, daughter of Rob and Linda Hunger, representing Jac-Cen-Del Elementary School, were named 2007 Prince and Princess on Thursday night of the Versailles Pumpkin Show.