There are many popular fall traditions that people love during the season such as apple picking, hayrides, bonfires and more. A whole set of traditions belongs to the most famous fall crop: pumpkins. Pumpkins are grown on farms all over the country, including in California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
Chris Gounalakis from Arata's Pumpkin Farm in Half Moon Bay, California, said the perfect climate to grow pumpkins is one that is "not too hot and not too cold."
Farmers look for about four months to plant, grow and harvest pumpkins and need at least 75 frost-free days.
Gounalakis personally plants the pumpkins at the end of April or beginning of May then harvests them in the middle of September. He said it's a complicated process and one that requires a lot of water.
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dale Mohler said that there "was consistent rain all summer in the Midwest and Northeast so that would be great for pumpkins in those areas."
Mohler agreed with Gounalakis, who said that they have to water the pumpkins heavily in the West.
Once those pumpkins are harvested in the fall, they are used for all sorts of things. Some people might utilize their culinary skills to make pumpkin pie, others might carve pumpkins to use as decorations. However, pumpkin-lovers can unite at many different pumpkin festivals across the country. Here are some popular - and unique - pumpkin festivals happening this fall.
Great Pumpkin Farm Fall Festival in Clarence, New York
The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence hosts festivals every weekend from Sept. 13 through Oct. 31. Events change every weekend, but some activities include the pumpkin Olympics, pumpkin slingshot, pumpkin drop and a Pumpkin Palace filled with hundreds of handmade crafts. The festival also has the world pumpkin weigh-off, where the Great Pumpkin Farm will pay $10,000 if someone brings a pumpkin that sets the world record for weight of pumpkin.
Sycamore Pumpkin Festival in Sycamore, Illinois
The 53rd Annual Sycamore Pumpkin Festival will take place on Oct. 22-26. The festival was started in 1956 by Wally Thurow, also known as "Mr. Pumpkin," who displayed pumpkins on his lawn during Halloween. In 1962, the Sycamore Pumpkin Festival was born. The festival now includes thousands of decorated pumpkins on display, a pie-eating contest, a fun fair, a carnival and concludes with a parade. This year's parade Grand Marshal is Sean Frazier, who is the associate vice-president and director of athletics at Northern Illinois University.
Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, California
The 44th Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival in California was Oct. 18-19, 2014. The town calls itself the "World Pumpkin Capital" and is proud of its festival, which features giant pumpkins, pumpkin carvers and the world's largest mosaic pumpkin sculpture that is 12-feet-long, 11-feet-high and weighs 10,000 pounds.
Punkin Days in Floydada, Texas
Every year on the second Saturday in October, the Floydada Chamber of Commerce hosts "Punkin Days" for the residents of Floydada and the surrounding communities. A few activities people can participate in include a costume contest, chili cook-off and a pumpkin pie-eating contest. Floydada also calls itself the "Pumpkin Capital" because the area grows approximately 10 to 15 million pounds of pumpkins, which is about one million pumpkins.
Hiram House Pumpkin Fest, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
The Hiram House Camp hosted its 43rd annual Pumpkin Festival on Oct. 12, 2014. The Ohio camp had plenty of activities at its festival, including "exploding pumpkin" demonstrations, a pumpkin patch, a Haunted Hay Maze and plenty of different food options.
Morton Pumpkin Festival in Morton, Illinois
The proclaimed "Pumpkin Capital of the World," Morton, Illinois, is home to Libby's Pumpkin Plant, which processes over 80 percent of the world's canned pumpkin. The 2014 festival was Sept. 10-13 and featured over 30 special events, including the Pumpkin Idol, Pumpkin Craft Faire and Pumpkin Classic Run & Walk. The festival also has a pumpkin weigh-off, with this year's winning pumpkin weighing in at 1,056 pounds.