The Pumpkin Capital Of The World Is In Illinois
One Illinois town is more than ready for the fall season as they are considered the "pumpkin capital of the world".
It's safe to say we focus on all things pumpkin from August through November. There are even pumpkin spice-scented trash bags. But long before pumpkin spice became the worldwide sensation that it is and every girl loved the gourd, there was the "pumpkin capital of the world" in Illinois.
Why The Nickname?
Almost every smaller town has a "thing" but for this village, it's actually a pretty legit reason that they have the title. It is where 85% of the world's canned pumpkin is packed. Not just the U.S. But the world's canned pumpkin. There's a Nestle/Libby's plant in the middle of the village. You've likely seen this jar at Thanksgiving:
Morton, Illinois Is The Pumpkin Capital Of The World
Morton, a town of nearly 16,000, was crowned the pumpkin capital of the world back in 1978 by the Governor of Illinois. The canning plant in Morton opened in the 1920's and ever since then has had a big impact on the Village of Morton, canning exclusively pumpkin since 1970, according to peoria.org. They celebrate their autumn royalty in September with the Morton Pumpkin Festival and a massive pumpkin weigh-off as part of the festivities. Check out this year's winners.
Now those are some pumpkins. The festival, which features events ranging from Pumpkin Idol Jr. to a pie-eating contest, draws in about 75,000 visitors every year. Morton is about 10 minutes from Peoria, and about an hour and a half from the Quad Cities.