The Ohio Pawpaw Festival: 6 Things You Probably Didn’t Know

The 17th annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival is next weekend (Sept. 11-13) at Lake Snowden in Albany. The three-day festival celebrates the pawpaw, Ohio’s official native fruit.

Never tasted a pawpaw? It has a creamy texture and a tropical flavor; similar to a mango. Here are six fun facts about things to do and see at the Pawpaw Festival that you may not know about:

Pawpaw Gauntlet Course

Two people will be named the 2015 Pawpaw Gauntlet Masters. Two-person teams will race through a maze of 20+ challenging obstacles on a less than two-mile course. Many will try, but only two will be Pawpaw Gauntlet Masters. Kids can join the fun on Saturday, and the adult competition is Sunday. Teams and individuals can register at the festival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pawpaw ExpertYou can chat with national pawpaw experts. For everything you ever wanted to know about Ohio’s state fruit, visit experts known far and wide for their pawpaw knowledge in the Pawpaw Tent. Activities here in include everything from demos on how to grow and cook with pawpaws to a pawpaw eating contest, lectures on sustainable living and gardening. Check out the schedule of events to see everything that’s happening!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swallowtail ButterfliexThere are butterflies who 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! To find out more and get up-close with Monarch butterflies, come by the pollinator/butterfly tent. Check out the complete schedule of special events before you come!

 

 

 

pawpaweatingcontestYou could be the next pawpaw eating champion. Every year, 10 pawpaw fanatics compete to earn the 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 p.m. on Saturday. Sign-up is at the Pawpaw Tent.

 

 

 

 

Forests of Emerald in the Pale summer LightCelebrate the pawpaw with a 55-mile bike ride. The Pawpaw Double Nickel Bicycle Ride starts and ends at the fest on Saturday morning, taking you from Albany on a circle tour around Zaleski State Forest. Enjoy challenging climbs, ridgetop views and sweet downhills, all along the Raccoon Creek Watershed. There is also a shorter 20-mile loop option. The ride is included in festival admission.

 

 

Pawpaw Zero Waste 2014The Pawpaw Festival strives for zero waste. The festival is working with Rural Action to complete this goal through recycling and composting. Food will be served only using compostable items, and several resource recovery stations are located throughout the festival. In 2014, the Pawpaw Festival recycled 809 pounds and composted more than 2,000 pounds!

 

 

Now that you have a behind-the-scenes look of the Ohio Pawpaw Festival, come see for yourself what the talk is all about! And, if you’re looking for a unique place to stay, check out these great cabins, camping spots and bed & breakfasts.

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