ILI pumpkin 300x200The pumpkin has been a North American staple since before long before the arrival of European settlers, and Illinois farmers continue the big orange squash’s long tradition by growing more pumpkins than anywhere else in the world. Illinois grows 90-95 percent of the pumpkins used in processed goods, with most of the processing taking place in Morton, Illinois – which has claimed the title of “Pumpkin Capital of the World” since 1978.

In 1920, Morton developed a canning plant, now owned by Nestle/Libby’s. The plant covers 5,000 acres of fertile farmland devoted to producing pumpkins.

In 1967, the Morton Chamber of Commerce organized the city’s first Pumpkin Festival as an annual fundraiser and celebration of the commencement of pumpkin harvest and canning season at the local Libby’s Pumpkin Plant.

In 2012, Libby’s Pumpkin became the official sponsor of the Morton Pumpkin Festival, which now includes over 30 individual events organized by over 2,000 volunteers. Each year, the festival welcomes an estimated 35,000 visitors in September, which is more than twice the local population.

The event features pie eating contests, box car derby’s, musical guests, parades, and the annual Pumpkin Weigh Off, as well as a Princess Pumpkin beauty pageant and numerous other activities. To learn more about this beloved regional event, visit