Pumpkin pie in running for state designation

Doug Finke GateHouse Media Illinois

The Illinois House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to make pumpkin pie the official state pie.

The vote was 108-3.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton, agreed there are more serious issues facing the state this year.

“But we need to celebrate what is good about our state,” Sommer said. “This is one way to celebrate something that is unique in Illinois.”

Illinois produces 95 percent of the processed pumpkin used in this country. About 85 percent comes from Morton alone.

“It’s a cash crop in central Illinois,” Sommer said.

He invited his colleagues to visit Morton in September when the town holds an annual pumpkin festival. And yes, Sommer said, the festival features air guns that propel pumpkins up to a mile.

There was some faux controversy surrounding the debate. Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Democrat from the west side of Chicago, said pumpkin pie didn’t reflect his district.

“Where I come from, we eat sweet potato pie,” Ford said. “Let’s have a contest (for state pie) first.”

The bill now goes to the Senate. If it eventually becomes law, the pumpkin pie would join other state symbols like the painted turtle (reptile), square dance (state dance), eastern tiger salamander (state reptile) and popcorn (state snack).