5 Fun Facts About the Ohio Pawpaw Festival


Pawpaw Mascot with group

You never know who you’re going to meet at the Pawpaw Festival, but you’re sure to leave with a smile on your face.

The 18th annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival is this weekend (Sept. 16-18) at Lake Snowden in Albany. The three-day festival celebrates the pawpaw with food, beer, music, art, competitions, and workshops—just to name a few festivities.

Never tried a pawpaw? It has a creamy texture and a tropical flavor, similar to a mango and is definitely worth the trip to Albany, Ohio, to taste. Fun fact about the pawpaw: it’s Ohio’s state native fruit. Here are five more facts about the pawpaw and the festival that celebrates it:

Some butterflies eat only pawpaws. Zebra swallowtail butterflies are the only species of swallowtail butterflies in this area of North America, and they have a special relationship with pawpaws. In fact, the young foliage of the pawpaw tree is the only food source for the butterfly. Learn how to encourage these and other native pollinators in your garden and around your home with the workshops at the Pollinator Tent.

You can chat with national pawpaw experts at the festivalVisit experts on all things pawpaw at the aptly named Pawpaw Tent. Get tried-and-true advice on how to grow pawpaws, how to cook and brew them, and discover the pawpaw’s role in history. Check out the schedule of events  for details.

Bragging rights are available to everyone who competes in the inaugural Pawpaw 4 Miler. This classic cross country style race covers a mix of grass, trails and gravel surfaces, with a few obstacles thrown in for fun. Get training, then register in-person at Ohio Valley Running Company or online with the Southeastern Ohio Trail Runners. Get ready for the race with these calf-busting trail runs.

Pawpaw Eating Contest

Slurping your way through a pawpaw is temporary. Being the pawpaw-eating champion is eternal.

You could be the next pawpaw-eating champion. Every year, 10 pawpaw fanatics compete for the champion title by slurping pawpaw pulp with hands behind the back, making sure to eat the pulp off of every seed. Catch this annual spectacle at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Sign-up will be at the Pawpaw Tent.

Last year’s Pawpaw Festival technically produced zero waste. The festival works with Rural Action to achieve this goal through recycling and composting. In 2015, the festival prevented 91.26% of its waste from going to the landfill.

Now that you have a behind-the-scenes look, come see for yourself why National Geographic considers the Ohio Pawpaw Festival the best food fest in the state.

Ready to sample a pawpaw? Let us help you plan your trip.