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Extra emergency personnel come to Hartsburg for Pumpkin Festival

This weekend is the 23rd Annual Pumpkin Festival in Hartsburg. Each year, the event draws thousands of visitors to the town of about 100 residents.

Saturday, about 20 emergency personnel staffed the festival including law enforcement, fire fighters and paramedics, which is a lot for the usually quiet town.

Tom O’Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said the big problem they are dealing with is very limited parking space.

Tom O’Sullivan, Boone County Sheriff’s Department: “A lot of these open lots that were used for parking are too wet to allow vehicular parking so we have everybody on the side of the road. And people are going to have to walk a little bit.”

O’Sullivan said only vehicles with four-wheel drive are allowed to park in the fields so cars don’t get stuck in the mud. Many attendees had to park more than a mile away from the festival.

Deputy Andrew Collins said all the vehicles lined up along the side of the roads created an issue for pedestrians who had little room to walk.

Andrew Collins, Boone County Sheriff’s Department: “We just want to ensure public safety while we’re out here, managing traffic flow with pedestrian foot traffic.”

Boone Electric ran trams to and from the parking areas to try and make the long walk less of a hassle for festival-goers. Local fire departments came to help out with the large crowds as well.

Dale Parsons, Southern Boone County Fire Department: “We’re just here providing emergency response if somebody slips and falls, or somebody has a heart attack, or if there’s an accident or if there’s a fire. Mostly lost children. That’s our big concern that we have out here.”

About 200 craft and food booths are spread throughout Hartsburg…and of course several pumpkin patches.

O’Sullivan said if you plan on going to the festival, make sure you allow plenty of time for driving, be patient and drive at a slow pace.

Pumpkin Fest will be open to the public again Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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