Statue of Mr. Pumpkin
Wally "Mr. Pumpkin" Thurow was just a local businessman when he decorated his front lawn with pumpkins in October 1956. Somehow this triggered a passion for pumpkins in Wally, and by 1962 he'd convinced his hometown of Sycamore to host an annual pumpkin festival. 50 years later the festival was drawing 200,000 people a year.
Wally had moved to another state in 1979, but never failed to return for Pumpkin Fest, wearing a top hat and riding his signature high-wheel bicycle.
Wally died in 2012 ("complications from a bicycling mishap") but the town decided it wouldn't be Pumpkin Fest without him. A life-size bronze statue of Wally and his bike (cast from the actual bike) was created by David Seagraves and placed on the Pumpkin Fest parade route, at a spot where Wally would often stand and smile for photos.
At the statue's dedication on October 22, 2014, Sycamore's mayor said that Wally, "had a heart as big as a pumpkin."