Ohio Gourd Show and Festival

The first Saturday in October, Tom and I went to the Ohio Gourd Show and Festival.  The Ohio Gourd Show was held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, so it wasn’t too far away.  Tom really likes gourds, and, after attending the show, I have a new appreciation of them myself.

The Ohio Gourd Show is always held the first weekend of October in Delaware.  The show runs from Friday through Sunday with demonstrations, workshops, and competitions.  Cost is $5 for one day or $7 for a weekend pass.  The Gourd Show is sponsored by the Ohio Gourd Society, which is a group “dedicated to the education and promotion of gourds across the state of Ohio.  Our goal is to expand this exciting hobby while also expanding our Society.”

Elaborately carved gourd

The Ohio Gourd Show is held in two buildings at the fairgrounds.  The first building had demonstrations, vendors, and the dried gourd competition.  The competition was like what you would see at a county or state fair, with people entering different kinds of gourds in different categories.  Tom and I were amazed at the creativity and inventiveness of the entries.   There were plain dried gourds and elaborately carved gourds.  Some were beautifully painted and others were shaped into useful objects.  It was really fun to see the variety of things that people did with the gourds.

The vendors were mostly selling dried gourds, although some of them had gourd kits or carved gourds for sale.  One vendor had musical instruments made out of gourds.  Some of the vendors were also working on various things, such as cleaning out gourds or carving them.  We talked for a little while with a woman who was using a specially designed sander on her power drill.  It definitely looked like an easier way to clean out a gourd than using sandpaper.  I was surprised to see the variety of special tools used just for gourds.  Of course, that is part of the fun of any hobby – acquiring the specialized tools.

Gourd competition
Cannonball gourds
Dipper gourds
Carved gourds
Painted gourds
Native American flute
Other musical instruments
Shaped gourds
Variety of fresh gourds
Egg gourds

The second building had the fresh gourds and workshops.  Gourds come in so many different shapes.  Did you know loofah sponges are really the insides of gourds (Luffa aegyptiaca)?  Tom and I learned that when we started working at Slate Run Living Historical Farm.  You can grow your own loofah in your garden!  There are gourds that can be used as bowls, dippers, vases, canteens, and salt shakers.

The second building also housed the workshops, which encompassed a variety of gourd-related crafts.  We peeked in at them, but didn’t want to interrupt.

Because gourds were very important, historically, to Native Americans, Tom thinks we need to use gourds in our living history demonstrations.  We found some gourds for sale outside that looked like they would be good for living history.  I got an apple gourd to make into a bowl and Tom got several different kinds of gourds including a dipper gourd.  The gourds are still sitting in our garage, untouched, but I have a feeling they will be going with us to Georgia this year.

The Ohio Gourd Show and Festival was very interesting and sparked some ideas for us with living history.  We enjoyed seeing the different kinds of gourds and talking to some of the gourd enthusiasts.  Who knows, maybe Tom will enter something in next year’s show.