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. 16, 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. 17, 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. 17, 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. 17, 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 Cookbook Launch Party

Saturday, Sept. 17, at 5:30 p.m. in the Pawpaw Tent

Pre-Order the “The Joy of Pawpaw” Cookbook now through September 15th, and pick up your copy at the Cookbook Launch Party at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival! “The Joy of Pawpaw” features recipes from past festival cookoff winners, and is available for pre-sale exclusively at Foraged Market. Order now, and your cookbook will be wrapped and waiting for you at the Cookbook Launch Party where you’ll be eligible to win a raffle prize for pre-ordering the cookbook!


Pawpaw Cook-off
Sunday, Sept. 18, 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 9:30 a.m. until 10:45 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.





Rural Action‘s Sustainability Village will be on site all weekend.  Activities include:

Electric Vehicle (EV) Showcase
Saturday, Sept. 17, 10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Join local electric vehicle (EV) owners and enthusiasts at the EV showcase to see a wide variety of the latest EV models, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning and Kia EV6. Speak to members of the local EV car club, Drive Electric Southeast Ohio, about their day-to-day experiences driving EVs in the area, compare models and features, and see for yourself how an EV might work for you. There will also be a raffle with the chance to win apparel, accessories and more!


Cartoon Fun With J.D.Williamson 

Saturday, Sept. 17,  12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Visitors will have their caricatures drawn by local favorite J.D. Williamson. Ask about being drawn with solar panels and wind turbines in the background! The Cartoon Fun exhibit is provided by SOPEC — Sustainable Ohio Public Energy Council. The SOPEC Electric Aggregation Program purchases 100% renewable energy for electricity customers in Albany and surrounding Athens County communities. Learn more by visiting:

Passport to Pawpaw
Get to experience all of the best things of the festival by participating in Passport to Pawpaw! Pick up your passport at the main table in the Sustainability Village and make your way to the activities around the festival that showcase sustainability. Once you complete your activity, get a stamp from the instructor and move on to the next. Once you get all your stamps, turn your passport back in to win a prize!

Group Tarn Hammock Making
Learn how to upcycle items that normally go to waste and make them into something useful by participating in the tarn hammock making! Stop by this table for a few minutes to help us weave a large hammock out of upcycled t-shirts.

Wood Painting with True Pigments
Create your own artwork that uses 100% recycled materials! Take a recycled wood pawpaw from Community MakerSpace and paint it with True Pigments paint. With varieties of colors to pick from, your creativity shall have no bounds!

Fish Tank
Identify native fish and invertebrate species from local streams and rivers in Rural Action Watershed’s fish tank.



The Family Care Tent provides a quiet space for families with babies and young children to take a break from festival activities, offering space for nursing mothers and diaper changes, as well as information for families about local resources. Extra supplies like diapers, wipes, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, water, healthy kid-friendly snacks and grab-and-go activity packs for kids will be available.

Sponsored by March of Dimes, The Birth Circle, La Leche League, Laughing 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. – 2 p.m. on Saturday and 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Sunday.





Pawpaw Double Nickel Bicycle Ride
Saturday, Sept. 17, with registration opening at 8:30 a.m.

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.

On-site rider registration will be at the festival from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and riders can get started any time during those hours. The rest stop will be set up until 2 p.m.

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.

Click here for a GPX file to download to your personal GPS device.




6th Annual Pawpaw 4-Miler and 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk
Sunday, Sept. 18, 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.