HOUSTON – Pumpkin pie is tasty any time, and even more so on an autumn day when there’s a chill in the air.

So, it was no surprise people were lining up for a taste of pumpkin pie Saturday afternoon at the Houston Pumpkin Festival. Only difference, though, is they had to down not a slice of a pie, but a whole pie – eight slices total – in just a couple of minutes in the festival’s fifth annual pie-eating contest.

Pam Fawcett of Washington and her son, Nathan Patterson, were among the participants, though Fawcett left at least half her pie uneaten by the time the contest wrapped up. As a consolation prize, though, she was able to take home what she didn’t finish.

The pie-eating contest was one of the activities at the long-running annual festival, which happens on the grounds of Houston American Legion, and is the key generator of revenue for Houston Volunteer Fire Department. It continues through today with an open-air church service at 9:45 a.m., and a pumpkin seed-spitting contest at 2:30 p.m.

Along with an assortment of entertainment and activities, the festival also has about 175 craft and food booths on-hand. Typically, the festival draws about 100,000 visitors every year over its three-day span.

Despite the unseasonably cool temperatures, attendance “has been good,” according to Chad Roberts, president of the fire department.

“The cold weather has kept some people away,” he added. “But it’s still a lot better than we expected.”

The festival has been a Houston fixture for close to 30 years. Once put together by the borough, the fire department took over its organization and operation in 1996.

Staff Writer

Brad Hundt came to the Observer-Reporter in 1998 after stints at newspapers in Georgia and Michigan. He serves as editorial page editor, and has covered the arts and entertainment and worked as a municipal beat reporter.

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