Time is Running Out to Get In On Sullivan County Animal Shelter's Pumpkin Fest This Year

John M. Dabbs

John Dabbs/Photographer

The Animal Shelter of Sullivan County continues with its second annual Pumpkin Fest at 1200 Volunteer Parkway in Bristol - at the intersection of Holston Drive. The Pumpkin Fest is a fundraiser for the nonprofit animal shelter. This season they're selling pumpkins in all shapes, colors, and sizes, gourds, straw bales, fodder shocks, and seasonal flowers. You'll also see displays for photo spots desired for your family and pet photos in seasonal decor.


Profits from sales at the event help support the animals at the shelter while being a fun stop for families, shoppers, and their pets.

“It is one of our big fundraisers for the shelter. Last year was our first time, and it was a huge success for us. We sold out and had to restock. So this year, we’ve ordered one and a half times as much stock from the start.” - Karen Fox, Animal Shelter Outreach Coordinator

John Dabbs/Photographer

Fox said the pumpkin supplier fronts the product to the shelter, which prices and sells the pumpkins based on size and keeps a portion of the proceeds. The shelter’s share increases according to sales volume. In other words, the more the public buys, the bigger the facility’s share.


Prices begin at $1.50 for palm-sized pumpkins. Fox says they measure larger pumpkins with a tape measure to determine the price. They’re hoping to top last year on the money raised for the shelter.

John Dabbs/Photographer

The split with the supplier starts at 25% and typically runs 25-30% for fundraisers. The share can go as high as 50% if sales reach the top level. Last year the shelter’s sales volume garnered a 32% share.

The event runs longer this week, as last year's was about a month. This year's Pumpkin Fest is nearly six weeks, running from September 17 - October 30, 2022


Open hours are expanded beginning Oct. 13 to 11 am - 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, and continue to be 1 to 6 pm on Sundays.

Food trucks will be in available on Sundays.

John Dabbs/Photographer

Shelter progress

Fox said the shelter made great strides in the past few years.

“Our year-to-date euthanasia rate is .03%,” Fox said. “That’s very low. The total rate last year was 1.99%. We do not euthanize for space. We do manage intake by requiring appointments for owner surrenders. We have to bring in strays.”

In mid-September, the shelter had around 15 dogs in its kennels and sent 21 to a rescue group. Of those taken by the rescue group, the “long-timers” had been at the shelter for approximately six months.

“They all had adopters waiting on them,” Fox said.

The shelter provides “extra care” for all normal intakes.

“Every puppy gets tested for parvo before their feet hit the floor,” Fox said. “Everyone gets a microchip. Everyone gets dewormed. Everyone gets a flea treatment. Everyone gets ‘fixed.’ “

The shelter provides spaying and neutering on-site for all shelter animals and for “community cats” as well as owned cats.

The Animal Shelter, located in Blountville near the Sullivan County Jail, receives animals from Bristol, Tennessee, as they filter down from the city's facility near Rooster Front Park, in addition to receiving animals from the unincorporated areas of the county.

Time's a-wastin' to get your pumpkins and cords to decorate for Halloween, or maybe you'll just want to grab a few to bake your own pumpkin pies from scratch.

If you'd like to adopt an animal from the shelter, complete their application online here.

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An outdoor enthusiast with a passion for travel and adventure. John is a professional consultant and photojournalist.

Bristol, TN

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