Giving Back

The Morton Pumpkin Festival’s core function is community enhancement for the Village of Morton and the Morton Chamber of Commerce, a local non-profit organization that strives to strengthen local business and enhance the Village of Morton. In addition to using festival revenue to support their general operations, the Morton Chamber of Commerce donates tens of thousands of dollars each year to other, local non-profit organizations that assist in the operations of the festival.

2019 Give Back Project

This year, the Morton Chamber of Commerce will direct a portion of the revenue generated from the 2019 Morton Pumpkin Festival to updates to Horseshoe Park.

The ground where Horseshoe Park currently sits has a long history of public use here in Morton, IL. This ground was part of the interurban railroad that connected Peoria to Bloomington and beyond from 1907-1953. When the railway went out of service in 1953 the property was acquired by the Village of Morton and subsequently gifted to the Morton Park District in 1968.

In November of 1968 the Morton Park District Board of Commissioners decided to hold a public auction to sell the property, but when no bids were received the Park District decided to create Horseshoe Park. Four horseshoe pits were installed public use. In 2001 two of the horseshoe pits were removed and a gazebo was installed for public seating.

Following almost two decades of minimal use the Morton Park District is now planning to remove the last two horseshoe pits and create a natural landscaped area with added public seating. The native plants that will be planted will aid the local pollinator population as well as be an aesthetically pleasing gathering area for the public. This property has sat along the annual Pumpkin Festival Parade route throughout its existence and will for generations to come.

Project Pumpkin Endowment Fund

Project Pumpkin is an endowment fund the Morton Chamber of Commerce launched in 2013 in partnership with the Morton Community Foundation. The purpose of the fund is to provide access to the Morton Pumpkin Festival for families in need. To contribute to the fund, festival guests can purchase a special item at the Pumpkin Store before and during the Morton Pumpkin Festival. 100% of the proceeds from those sales go to support this fund. Direct contributions to the fund can also be sent to the Morton Community Foundation.

Non Profit Partners 2019

At the 2019 Festival, the following non-profit organizations received a portion of the revenue from the Morton Pumpkin Festival through their support of Festival activities and operations:                                            

Peoria Public School Foundation                                                           
Marquette Heights Mosquitoes                                             
Pekin Sunset Kiwanis                                                 
Blessed Sacrament                                                     
Tazewell County Public Health Foundation                                                       
Young Life Morton                                                       
Interact/Language Club                                             
Pekin Dragons Hockey Club                                                     
Alzheimer’s Association                                             
Girl Scout Troop 4481                                                 
Pekin Gamers 10U                                                       
Titanium Cheer Force                                                 
Girl Scout Troop 4718                                                 
Big Brothers/Sisters HOI                                           
Jefferson School Activity Fund                                                 
Jefferson School PTO                                                 
MHS Softball                                                 
MJHS Softball                                                 
MHS Girls Volleyball                                                   
MHS Football                                                 
Peoria Jaycees                                               
MYBA 9U Travel Team                                               
Flynn School of Irish Dance                                                     
Morton St. Jude Runners                                                           
Morton Tennis Association                                                       
Community United Church of Christ                                                     
Pekin Gamers 8U                                                         
Boy Scout Troop 178                                                   
Union Mission 12U Red                                             
Midwest Food Bank (Pumpkin Pedal)                                                   
Morton High School Booster Club                                                         
Village of Morton                                                 


Past Year Contributions

The Morton Chamber of Commerce has contributed thousands of dollars to local nonprofit organizations and projects through the revenue generated by the Morton Pumpkin Festival. Here is a history of contributions over the past decade:

  • 2001 – $11,000
  • 2002 – $15,250
  • 2003 – $16,500
  • 2004 – $17,000
  • 2005 – $17,500
  • 2006 – $5,000
  • 2007 – $25,000
  • 2008 – $5,000
  • 2009 – $35,000
  • 2010 – $40,000
  • 2011 – $13,118
  • 2012 – $46,793 (Special Project: Downtown Memorial Plaza – $25,000)
  • 2013 – $41,062.26 (Special Project: Idlewood Arts Pavilion – $25,000)
  • 2014 – $46,564.37 (Special Project: Veterans Memorial – $25,000)
  • 2015 – $46,152.22 (Special Project: Birchwood Park Softball Complex – $25,000)
  • 2016 – $31,016.61 (Special Project: Library Book Drop & Downtown Flower Pots – $14,714.61)
  • 2017 – $39,074.13 (Special Project: Idlewood Large Picnic Shelter $20,000)
  • 2018 – $38,740 (Special Project: Jefferson School Playground $10,000)
  • 2019 – $51,650.83 (Special Project: Morton Park District, Horseshoe Park $25,000)