EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Popularity has killed Flemings Pumpkin Run.
The event, held for 21 years on the first Saturday of November inside Flemings Junkyard on Zion Road, was more than its original car show. It had cannons, flea markets, food, sawmills and tractors.
“We are a victim of our own success. We have outgrown what the property and surrounding neighborhood can handle. And even though the inconvenience is only for around five hours once a year, the burden placed on the township has become too much,” said the message on the Flemings Pumpkin Run Facebook page.
Harry Fleming could not be reached for comment.
“With true sadness, for reasons beyond our control, we are sorry to inform everyone that last year’s event, the 21st annual Flemings Pumpkin Run, will be the last of the ‘Run,’” the Facebook page said.
Mayor James J. “Sonny” McCullough said he did not talk to Fleming before Fleming decided to end the run, but the event had become a mixed bag in recent years.
People in the neighborhood complained about the traffic it caused.
“Our Police Department would go out and try to resolve the complaints,” McCullough said. “Zion Road is one way, each way. It’s two lanes, and when you have thousands of cars on a small road, there is not a lot you can do.”
McCullough never attended it but said it brought a lot of beautiful vehicles into the township.
“It was a big deal,” McCullough said. “It’s a shame. It was a great thing. A lot of people enjoyed it.”
Township Administrator Peter Miller said he has been stuck in Pumpkin Run traffic.
Ocean Heights Avenue at Zion Road traffic has been backed up in all directions during the run the past couple of years, Miller said.
The township had asked Fleming to develop a traffic and parking plan if he wanted to hold the event this year.
The run has been attracting more than 2,000 people.
Miller said the high school uses a shuttle service to handle crowds.
The township’s and Fleming’s attorneys talked this spring about holding a 22nd event, but Fleming’s attorney did not tell the township what Fleming wanted to do before the post went up on Facebook.
The run attracted car enthusiasts including Ray Evernham, an analyst for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage, and Dennis Gage, the host of the “My Classic Car” TV show, which aired on TNT, the Facebook post says.
It started with only 35 cars and exceeded anything ever dreamed of, the Facebook post says.
“From Harry Fleming and the entire Pumpkin Run Crew, we want to thank you for all the years you may have attended, and all the enthusiasm you have shown. It’s been a great run,” the post says.