MORTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Fall is just around the corner, and pumpkin season is on its way, too.

Farmers are keeping a close eye on their crops to ensure they are healthy and growing in time for their big debut.

“We like to keep very vigilant. It’s been a wet year, and pumpkins don’t really like it wet. They do better when it’s dry. So, things are good now, but we’re really watching for it,” said owner of Ackerman Family Farms John Ackerman.

Ackerman said wet and humid weather are great environments for Phytophthora capsici, a devastating fungus-like crop disease, to grow.

“We always look immediately for any yellowing of the leaves. And then there’s different signs that show up on the leaves depending on whether it’s mildew, or a fungus, or a bacterial disease,” said Ackerman.

The Morton Chamber of Commerce’s Pumpkin Festival is quickly approaching, and despite the pumpkin blight being spotted in the area recently, the chamber’s executive director said it shouldn’t alter plans for this September.

“It will have absolutely no impact on our pumpkin festival.  We’ll still be able to get our product and make all the wonderful pumpkin sweets, and food and everything pumpkin that will happen with our festival,” said Morton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Leigh Ann Brown.

If anything, COVID-19 mitigations for the festival are creating a bigger change to one of the largest events. Festival leaders now have to accommodate those who want to participate and stay safe from the coronavirus.

“People can safely go through the pumpkin drive-through. There’s events that are very spread out. All events are outdoors. We have events like the movie drive-in that you can come and be in your own vehicle, and we also have our pumpkin TV network,” said Brown.

Both Morton’s Chamber of Commerce and Farmers like Ackerman are still monitoring for changes in one of the city’s most important crops.

The festival will be held Sept. 15-18. More info can be found here.