The Ohio Pawpaw Festival, often simply referred to as Pawpaw Festival, is an annual event that showcases and celebrates the humble pawpaw fruit. It is held close to Lake Snowden in Albany, Ohio every year and is sponsored by the Ohio Pawpaw Growers' Association, along with several other local organizations.
The first festival took place in October 1999. It was part of the efforts by a company called Integration Acres to promote the fruit. It was moved to its current location near Lake Snowden in 2001, the same year when the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association was founded. Companies like Snowville Creamery and Ohio's Hill Country Heritage Area program have sponsored it in the past. Live music performances became part of the event in 2007.
So what is a pawpaw anyway? This large green tree fruit offers a tropical and creamy taste for curious taste buds. The fruit is widely cultivated in the Athens County area and is found all over the Midwestern, Eastern, and Southern parts of the country. Peak harvest season is in mid-September, which is when the festival usually takes place.
Festival-goers can enjoy pawpaw inspired food, brews, and other fun activities related to the fruit. The festival features some unique events such as the Pawpaw Cook-off, Pawpaw Eating Contest, Pawpaw Double Nickel Bicycle Ride and Brewer's Roundtable & Tasting. Pack up your RV and head to the Ohio Pawpaw festival and camp in the area.
General admission passes go on sale a few months before the event. Single-day passes are available as well as tickets for all three days. Children under the age of twelve can enter the festival for free. Ticket prices range from $15 for single-day general admission passes to $30 for weekend tickets.
Lower priced passes are available for seniors and military personnel. The ticket prices are kept low thanks to the event's many sponsors. Take a look at the official website for more information on tickets and pricing. You can also purchase camping passes and official merchandise on the site.
The Ohio Pawpaw Festival venue is located in Albany, about six miles away from Athens, Ohio. It is a few hours drive from the cities of Cincinnati and Cleveland, but only about an hour and a half from Columbus. Once you reach Albany, there will be signs directing you to Lake Snowden Drive. Detailed driving instructions are provided on the festival website.
Paid parking options are available near Lake Snowden. Parking is permitted in designated areas such as parking lots and campsite parking areas. Parking will not be allowed on the grass, under trees or along roadways. Festival staff will be on site, and they will direct you on where to park your vehicle.
The venue is a bit out of the way, so it may be challenging to find public transportation options that will get you directly there. Shuttle pick-ups and drop-offs will be organized for guests on the days of the event. These shuttles operate all day long between the venue and various parts of the city like the Hocking College GoBus stop and the Albany GoBus stop.
Onsite camping is available only for tents through the festival website. If you want to camp overnight in your RV, it's best to book a spot at an RV park or another campsite nearby.
RV parking is available at nearby Snowden Park, although spaces may be somewhat limited. The sites come with electric hookups and will give you lakefront access. If you're prepared to drive a little further away, there are many other well-equipped options in Athens. At these, you can enjoy facilities like full-hookups, WiFi and cable TV.
Bicycles, scooters, skateboards, Segways and other personal motorized vehicles will not be allowed in the main festival area. You can quickly get from one point to another on foot. Every attempt will be made to make the venue accessible for patrons with disabilities. The festival organizers can be contacted for any queries or requests regarding venue accessibility.
The Ohio Pawpaw Festival is an all-ages event with a casual vibe. Most guests will be dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. Feel free to express your individuality with a pair of quirky sunglasses or a hat. It's a good idea to take a jacket with you in case it gets a bit chilly, but September in Ohio often allows for summer clothing.
Pack a small bag with everything you need to stay comfortable while away from your RV. Some items that can come in handy are sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, a refillable bottle, a lightweight blanket, and a portable charger. Also, carry reusable utensils and dispose of any trash responsibly if you'd like to cut down on waste.
The festival takes place outdoors so be prepared with sun protection. The venue can get pretty crowded, so make sure you stick with your group or use the buddy system. Keep your cell phone charged or carry a portable charger to stay in touch with your friends. Have a meeting place in mind in case cell service is limited.
Campsites in the area will allow you to cook or make snacks on the stove associated with your RV. If you'd like to light a campfire or use a barbecue pit, you'll need to check if this is allowed on your chosen campground. Cooking and outside food are not allowed at the venue during the Ohio Pawpaw Festival.
While you're in Albany, be sure to check out some of the local restaurants here and in the surrounding areas. You'll find eateries for every budget—from fast food joints and local favorites to exquisite fine dining establishments. If you're in the mood to try different cuisines, there is some excellent Mexican, Chinese, and Italian food on offer as well.
Attendees will find some pretty unique dishes and drinks to try at the festival, many of which are inspired by the pawpaw. Festival-goers can enjoy pawpaw smoothies, pawpaw salsa, pawpaw lemonade, and even pawpaw beer. There will also be some delicious pawpaw deserts on offer like pawpaw cheesecake and ice cream.
Security checks will be conducted at the entrances, and your bag may be searched. Make sure you're not carrying any items that are restricted like weapons, professional cameras, alcohol, and drug or drug paraphernalia. Festival officials request that guests be respectful towards other attendees and follow the rules of the event.
Ohio Pawpaw Festival will go on, rain or shine. The weather is typically warm and sunny in September, but rain does happen. It's a good idea to go prepared for any weather since the events and performances take place outdoors. Carry a rain poncho with you to be prepared in case it rains.
There will be a centrally located medical tent or center where guests can get assistance and first aid. If you need help, flag down one of the festival staff and they will point you in the right direction. Patrons who need to bring in medical equipment or have special dietary needs will want to contact the organizers for requests and information.