***The 26th Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival will be held September 13-15, 2024.***

Pawpaws to the People!

The Ohio Pawpaw Festival is a fun-filled, educational community event celebrating one of America’s largest native tree fruits, the pawpaw (Asimina triloba). This all-weekend event highlights the rich history and future possibilities of the pawpaw through delectable food and beverages, and a full line-up of presentations and activities that cover pawpaw growing, cooking, genetics, medical use and other topics related to sustainability. Special events at the festival include competitions for the best and biggest pawpaw, a pawpaw cook-off, a best pawpaw-related work of art and the ever-popular pawpaw-eating contest.

What is a pawpaw?

The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is North America’s largest edible native tree fruit. The fruit has a wonderful creamy texture and a tropical flavor.

Southern Ohio is home to some of the largest and best tasting wild pawpaw patches on the planet. The pawpaw is also super nutritious and historically significant.

Pawpaws for the Planet!

Through a long-standing partnership with Rural Action, the Ohio Pawpaw Festival has taken its recycling and composting efforts to the next level and striving for zero waste to landfill this year!!  That’s right — nada, zip, zero.  But, you’ve got a job to do to help us reach this ambitious goal.  Discard your materials at the resource recovery stations located throughout the fest.  With your help, not only will our native tree fruit be the largest in the nation, but our recycling and composting rates will be huge, too!

You all know the pawpaw is a green, groovy fruit, and the festival has a reputation for being the same way.  In addition to the solar-powered stage and reusable beer glasses of the past, this year’s vendors have agreed to serve food on compostable service ware only.  They are 100% bought in to a new zero waste policy at the fest.  So we hope you’ll buy in, too!

To make all of these efforts possible, we need some dedicated volunteers.   Volunteers get a free weekend pass to the festival, a T-shirt, and the privilege of using one of the premier festival sorting systems in the nation. Please register through the festival’s volunteer application.

To learn more about zero waste efforts in the region, visit the zero waste tent at the fest or ruralaction.org/our-work/zero-waste.

Here is the news from the Zero Waste from 2022 Ohio Pawpaw Festival:

With an 85.82% diversion rate, the Ohio Pawpaw Festival diverted 3,649 pounds (1,655 kg) of waste from the landfill!

Compost – 2,361.1 lbs; 55%
Recycling – 1,128.3 lbs; 27%
Trash – 603 lbs; 14%
Reusable cups helped to keep almost 160 pounds of material from the landfill!

Read the full 2022 report


2023 Best Pawpaw Contest Winners

Biggest Pawpaw Winner: Robert Meadows
Variety Susquehanna
1lb 6 oz
Best Pawpaws:
1st place : Kyleen Hale, Wabash variety
2nd place: Isaac Busby, Lehman’s Delight variety
3rd place: George Hale, Shenandoah variety)


2023 Pawpaw Cookoff Winners

Sauces and Condiments:
1st place – Abby Perkins (Pawpaw Curd)
2nd place – Casandra Clark (Island Pawpaw Salsa)
3rd place – Susie Neal (Pawpaw Verde Salsa)
1st place – Mark Borsamian (Pawpaw Tilapia)
1st place – Della McDermott (Pawpaw Pretzel Dessert)
2nd place – Valerie Libby (Sugar Cookie with Matcha Pawpaw Icing)
3rd place – Kylee Alter (Pawpaw Butter Pastry)
1st place – Aimee Delach (Pawpaw Mai Tai)
2nd place – Susie Neal (Pawpaw Lassi)
3rd place – Jeff Kallet (Pawpaw Latte)