Third Annual and Missouri Bicentennial Picking Up Pawpaws Contest

9/15/2021 to 9/25/2021 | Bennett Spring State Park | Lebanon, MO

The pawpaw is our largest edible fruit. It can grow up to 6 inches long and is often compared to a banana with mango flavor. Pawpaws can be eaten raw or baked. Lewis and Clark were known to eat them on their expedition in 1806, Native Americans wove the inner bark of the tree into fibers for cloth, and pioneers used the inner bark for stringing fish. The pawpaw is also Missouri's state fruit tree.

Can you find the biggest pawpaw? Help celebrate this edible part of Missouri's history from Sept. 15-25. We invite you to search your own private pawpaw patch to find the biggest pawpaw you can. Bring it to the nature center at Bennett Spring State Park on the dates and times below to be officially entered into the contest. Peak ripening is in September.

Pawpaws will be weighed at the nature center Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pickers will provide their name and phone number along with the county in Missouri where the pawpaw was harvested. A photo will be taken of each picker with his or her pawpaw.

Click here to read the news release.

Contest Dates: Sept. 15-25
Weigh-In Times: Wednesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This is one of many events Missouri State Parks is hosting to commemorate the state's bicentennial. To see a complete list of bicentennial-related events and learn more about the commemoration, click here.

Bennett Spring State Park is located at:

26250 Highway 64A, Lebanon, MO | 417-532-4338

Associated activities

  • Interpretive Programs