2023 Persimmon Pudding and Novelty Winners

MITCHELL – The last day of Mitchell’s Persimmon Festival was a riot of events. With the grand parade, awards, and the Persimmon Run, there was something for everyone.


Persimmon Pudding Winners. 1st place Lee Purlee, 2nd place Jan Grissom, 3rd place Lydia Pfaff

The Persimmon Pudding and Novelty contest was unique this year in that there was not one, but TWO double winners. Of the six prizes, two of the contestants, Jan Grissom and Lydia Pfaff, won two apiece, respectively bagging $400 and $275.

Jan Grissom won 1st place in Novelties and 2nd place in Pudding, while Lydia Pfaff won 3rd in Pudding and 2nd in Novelty.

In first place in the Pudding contest, Lee Purlee of Mitchell, a veteran pudding contestant and festival attendee, won $500 for her 1st-place pudding.

In second place, Jan Grissom, who’s been in the contest for 40 years, and drove from Louisiana for 9 years to participate, won $300 for her pudding.

Third place went to Lydia Pfaff, 23, who has only participated once before in 2019 despite living just outside of Mitchell. For her pudding, she won $200.

Lydia said her first year was “a bit of a fiasco” because she made two persimmon puddings on the same night. The first turned out a mess, and by the time she finished, it was midnight. She had to run to the only place that was open that late. Buying an overpriced gallon of milk from a Marathon gas station is quite the dedication.

Despite her late-night efforts, she didn’t win anything that year. “The first time was a bust,” she smiled. “But I guess this year makes up for it.”


For Novelties, first place went to Jan Grissom. When asked if she would be back, she was adamant that she would.

“It’s tradition, and it’s Mitchell,” Jan explained proudly, “There’s no better place to live.”

Of course, since she won she’ll have to wait another two years to enter again, but I’m sure she’ll be present at the next opportunity.

2nd place was awarded to Lydia Pfaff. Lydia’s novelty was Persimmon Cheesecake. She used gingersnap cookies and pecans for the crust, and a normal cheesecake style cake swirled with Persimmon pulp and spices. She modified a pumpkin pie style recipe for the swirl.

3rd place was awarded to Debbie Marento, who was not present for the award ceremony.