A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 01, 2010
Pumpkin Capital USA (Floydada nickname)

Floydada (the county seat of Floyd County) calls itself “Pumpkin Capital USA.” About one million pumpkins come from Floydada’s 1,500 acres. In 1987, Floydada began its “Punkin Day” celebrations, starting annually on the second Saturday of October. In 1989, Texas Monthly stated that Alice Gilroy, the editor of the Floyd County Hesperian, “dreamed up the pumpkin promotion” (Pumpkin Capital, USA).

“Pumpkin Capital” is not listed as an Official Capital Designation by the Texas Legislature. The name “Pumpkin Capital” has also not been registered as a trademark.


Wikipedia: Floydada, Texas
Floydada is a city in and the county seat of Floyd County, Texas, United States. The population was 3,676 at the 2000 census.

History
The city was named after Floyd County and Ada Price, wife of a local landholder.

Wikipedia: List of city nicknames in Texas
Floydada - Pumpkin Capital.

Floydada Chamber of Commerce
Punkin Day
How did Floydada earn the privilege of becoming the “Pumpkin Capital”? The facts and figures tell it all. Although only about fifteen hundred acres of the crop is grown annually in this county, pumpkins produce about 20,000 to 50,000 pounds per acres. That’s approximately ten to fifteen million pounds of pumpkins, or in layman’s terms about one million pumpkins! Pumpkins are among the crops which are harvested almost entirely by hand from the picking to the loading on and off trucks. This time consuming task is complicated by the number of the sizes and varieties of pumpkins being produced.

Floydada’s varieties currently focus on the jack-o-lantern (12-25 lbs.), pie pumpkins (5-8 lbs.), Big Mac (100 lbs. and up) and the mini pumpkins (8 oz.) A few Atlantic Giants are produced weighing over 100 lbs., but they are difficult to ship. These varieties are loaded onto trucks and shipped to over seventeen states at the present. As the profitable production of pumpkins began to increase an idea began to take shape in the mind of a local producer and was passed on the the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber enlisted a few very determined citizens and the first “Punkin Day” was born in 1987.

Within three years, “Punkin Day” was to receive kudos from several local and state-wide television stations, area newspapers, national magazines and recognition on nationally broadcast programs. The event gathers several thousand tourists to watch and participate in a fun filled weekend of activities. The “Punkin Day” committee’s philosophy of “fun for everyone” continues to lay the groundwork for creative contest ideas which draw hundreds of young and old, intellectual and downright silly participants.

29 October 1988, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Pumpkins Gaining Ground: Proliferation in Floyd County to be celebrated on ‘Punkin Day’” (Associated Press):
City officials have dubbed Floydada “Pumpkin Capital USA,” hoping to draw people to this town about 45 miles east of Lubbock.

Google Books
October 1989, Texas Monthly, pg. 112, col. 1:
THE ORANGE GOURD GORGE in Floydada. Pumpkins may not replace Floyd County’s staple crops of cotton, maize, wheat, and soybeans, but they are putting the farming community northeast of Lubbock on the map as a—if not the—major producer of decorative Halloween pumpkins. It hasn’t hurt that Floydada’s claim to the title of Pumpkin Capital of the USA has stirred up some controversy.

“We’ve already got a war going on with Morton, Illinois,” ways Alice Gilroy, the editor of the Floyd County Hesperian and the Floydadan who dreamed up the pumpkin promotion. “They claim they’re the pumpkin capital, since their town is next to the Libby’s plant, where they can pumpkins. But they don’t grow them; pumpkins are just shipped there. Besides, I pointed out to them that their pumpkins are all smooshed when they put them in a can, and ours look good.”

Google News Archive
22 October 1991, Victoria (TX) Advocate, “Pumpkin pie ranked at bottom of desserts” by henry Wolff Jr., pg. 2A, col. 6:
Floydada is even known as “Pumpkin Capital, U.S.A.” so I guess if I’m ever out that way that I might best not say too much about the way I feel about pumpkin pie.

10 October 1993, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Fields of gourds: Panhandle farmers’dreams come true as nation hunts pumpkins” (Associated Press):
Hulon Carthel is mayor of Floydada, 50 miles northeast of Lubbock, a town that for years has billed itself as “Pumpkin Capital, USA.”

29 August 1994, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Great pumpkins! There’s more than wide open spaces in Floydada” by Candace Leslie, pg. B5:
They call their town the Pumpkin Capital of the USA.

25 October 1998, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Growers in proclaimed pumpkin capital say this year’s crop is simply smashing” by Jacquielyn Floyd:
Floydada, the Floyd County sea,t is a dusty farm town an hour northeast of Lubbock that proudly bills itself as the nation’s pumpkin capital.

Lubbock (TX) Avalanche-Journal
Pumpkins produce Floydada fun
Published: Sunday, October 12, 2008
JANELLE STECKLEIN
FLOYDADA - Picking the perfect pumpkin to carve for Halloween can be hard - especially when there are hundreds to choose from.

Seven-year-old Tucker Kidd was one of many punkin’ pickers faced with the dilemma at Floydada’s 20th annual Punkin Day on Saturday, a celebration for the city’s best crop.
(...)
All varieties of the bright orange, green and yellow gourds were on display to illustrate Floydada’s designation as the country’s “Pumpkin Capital.” Punkin Day is the top fundraiser for the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Monday, November 01, 2010 • Permalink