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. 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.



Food Vendor Pawpaw Cook-off
Friday, Sept. 15, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pawpaw Food Court

Festival vendors will compete to see who has the BEST pawpaw dishes! Come see who will take the prizes and find out where your next festival meal will be coming from!


Best Pawpaw Contest
Saturday, Sept. 16, at 12:15 p.m. in the Pawpaw Tent

The Best Pawpaw Contest is the annual event that recognizes the world’s best and biggest pawpaws. There are many nuances to pawpaw flavor and desirable characteristics of the fruit itself. All pawpaws are eligible. Don’t have a pawpaw to enter? Come and hear the judges describe what makes a good pawpaw. Winners receive bragging rights, plaques, and cash! $100 for first prize, $75 for 2nd prize and $50 for 3rd prize. Have an enormous pawpaw? $50 and a plaque will be awarded to the largest pawpaw. Winners announced at 2 p.m. Click here for more info.


Brewers’ Round Table & Pawpaw Beer Tasting
Saturday, Sept. 16, at 3:30 p.m in the Pawpaw Tent

Join a panel of this year’s brewers for a discussion about beer and the process of creating it.  This is free and open to the public. Cost to participate in the beer tasting is $30, and includes a 5-ounce festival taster glass and a sampling of all the panelists’ beers.  Must be over 21 to participate in tasting.  Be prepared to provide ID.  Registration for the the tasting will begin at 2:00 p.m. outside the Pawpaw Tent.


Pawpaw Eating Contest
Saturday, Sept. 16, at 5:30 p.m. on the Main Stage

Don’t miss this festival spectacle! Every year, ten pawpaw fanatics compete by slurping pawpaw pulp with hands behind their backs, making sure to eat the pulp off of every seed! Sign up at the Pawpaw Tent.


Pawpaw Cook-off
Sunday, Sept. 17, at 11:15 a.m. in the Pawpaw Tent

Prepared dishes must be delivered to the pop-up tent just outside of the Pawpaw Tent from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. on Sunday. You can prepare three BITE-SIZED samples of your dish or leave it whole and the judges can portion it at the judging tables. Any leftovers will be sampled by the crowd.  Entrants in the Sauces/Condiments category are encouraged to provide a small sample containing just the sauce to be judged when they enter the sample served in combination with other foods. We have refrigeration and a freezer, but we do not have the capability to keep hot foods hot. Appearance matters, so make your dish as appealing as you can. First-place winners in each category will receive a plaque and cash prize of $100. Second- and third-place winners in each category will receive a cash prize of $75 and $50 respectively, as well as a certificate. Winners announced at 1:30 after the cooking demonstration.  Click here for more info.




The Kids’ Tent

Brought to you by Rising Appalachia: The Childrens’ Tent features non-stop fun and creative exploration through the hourly activities listed below. Each day until dark, enjoy giant inflatable bounce houses, a mini kids’ obstacle course, and a mobile bouldering wall. Also enjoy the surrounding arts and crafts booths and more. Saturday from 10am to 8pm Skate Jam Athens will have a skate park setup, pads and boards to borrow, and expert staff to give lessons and demos. Bring your own gear if you have it.


The Family Care Tent

The Family Care Tent is a resource hub for families with young children attending the Pawpaw Festival.  In an effort to make the Festival accessible and enjoyable for families with infants and young children, we provide resources such as nursing/pumping station, diaper changing stations, the Baby Brain Gym, and extra snacks and hygiene supplies that families may forget or run out of throughout the weekend. We also plan some speakers and programs of interest to families with young children to participate in throughout the Festival. In 2022, the tent was utilized by more than 250 people, many people visiting multiple times throughout their day/weekend. 

Sponsored by The Birth CircleLaughing Moon Midwifery, Ebb & Flow Lactation and The Autism Society.


Horse Drawn Wagon Rides

John Hutchison and his team of Percheron horses will take wagon rides around Lake Snowden on Friday from 5-9 p.m., 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.





Two men standing with their bicycles by an Ohio Air Guard plane

Pawpaw Double Nickel Bicycle Ride
Saturday, Sept. 16, with registration from 8am-9am

Hosted by the Athens Bicycle Club, this 55-mile road ride starts and ends at the fest, taking you from Albany on a circle tour around Zaleski State Forest. Enjoy challenging climbs, ridge top views and sweet downhills, all along the Raccoon Creek Watershed. A rest stop awaits you at the halfway point. There is also a shorter 20-mile loop option, and this year, a new 8 mile loop.

On-site rider registration will be at the festival from 8:00am to 9:00am, and riders can get started any time during those hours. The rest stop will be set up until 2pm

The self-guided, self-paced ride is included in the price of the festival admission fee, and includes a map of the ride, marked turns on the roads and the aid station.



Map of the Double Nickle Route


Map of the Double Deuce Route






7th Annual Pawpaw 4-Miler and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk
Sunday, Sept. 17, at 9 a.m.; pre-registration required

The Pawpaw 4-Miler is a classic cross country style race run on a mixture of grass, trails, and gravel surfaces, with a few fun obstacles along the route like!  Whether you are in it to run fast, or to simply enjoy the scenic grounds of Lake Snowden, this race is a great event for all levels, including the 1-mile fun run/walk for children, families, or those who just want to take it easy.

Click here for more info and to register.