Although the pawpaw is not a common fruit in some parts of the U.S., residents of Ohio are proud to call it their state fruit. Known as one of George Washington’s favorite desserts, the creamy textured fruit has a tropical taste and grows abundantly in Ohio. Locals not only enjoy eating the home grown creation, they dedicate an annual festival to the pawpaw.
Albany, Ohio locals celebrate the crops of produce each year with a three-day event called the PawPaw Festival, held annually the third weekend in September at Lake Snowden. Whether you are a local or newcomer to the PawPaw Festival, your first stop should be the pawpaw tent -- especially if you have never tasted the sweet fruit. Here guests can sample the pawpaw and get ideas on how to use them in recipes.
Things To See
The PawPaw Festival features contests and activities each year. One of the favorites, the pawpaw eating contest, awards a title to the person that can consume the most fruit in the allotted time. A nature center area houses a collection of snakes -- some that guests can even touch. A 1790s encampment recreates the lifestyle of days gone by, providing interesting insight into the 18th century.
American Indians from the Albany, Ohio area are always a big draw at the annual festival. Guests can enjoy the native drums, songs and storytelling. For the younger visitors, the kids’ area of the festival features a variety of hands-on activities. If you are in the mood for physical activity, a 55- mile bike ride around the Zaleski State Forest is an option, or you can relax on a horse-drawn wagon ride.
Beer enthusiasts will not want to miss one of the highlights of the PawPaw Festival -- the beer garden. At least half a dozen local breweries attend the festival each year, offering samples and selling their local products. These beers are unique because they are all made with the pulp of locally grown pawpaw fruit. Even if you are not an avid beer drinker, you might want to try these one-of-a-kind creations.
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