A Publication of WTVP

On September 10th, the villagers of Morton will be struck by a sudden condition. Symptoms include a rush of enthusiasm, an intense sweet tooth and a fondness for the color orange.

All of Morton catches pumpkin fever during the Morton Pumpkin Festival, as 70,000 visitors pile into town for a taste of the fall fruit. “The festival generates an incredible amount of revenue for our small businesses here in town,” explains Tammy Stephens, program director for the Morton Chamber of Commerce. “Several Chamber members have told us that the Saturday of Pumpkin Festival every year is the busiest day they have.”

The festival requires no fewer than 2,000 volunteers—and with a town of Morton’s size, nearly every small business owner is involved in one way or another. “Most Chamber members get involved in the festival because they are supportive of the Chamber and of Morton,” Stephens adds.

The festival also benefits numerous nonprofit organizations in Morton and the surrounding area. Last year, it partnered with 21 different nonprofits, which exchanged volunteer services for donations of more than $52,000, with a $25,000 special donation to the recently-constructed Idlewood Arts Pavilion. This year, the Tazewell County Resource Center will manage pumpkin donut stands along Saturday’s Pumpkin Parade route, while the Morton Youth Basketball Association works the ”Pumpkin To Go Drive Thru.”

During festival weekend, products from Libby’s Pumpkin—the official festival sponsor and company responsible for 80 percent of the world’s pumpkin production—appear all over town; restaurants feature ever-original, pumpkin-flavored menu items; and store owners decorate their storefronts to the tune of the festival’s annual theme. This year’s theme is “Pumpkins of the West.”

“Everyone in Morton gets pumpkin fever during the festival,” says Stephens. “It’s a great community event.” iBi

Support Morton’s small businesses at this year’s Pumpkin Festival from September 10th to 13th. For a full schedule of events, visit