Paw Paw is a village in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 3,534 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Van Buren County.The village is located at the confluence of the east and south branches of the Paw Paw River in the northeast portion of Paw Paw Township. Paw Paw was incorporated in 1837 and is located in the southwestern portion of Michigan, on Interstate 94 (I-94) approximately 20 miles (32 km) west of Kalamazoo. Paw Paw is in a rural location whose primary agricultural product is grapes, which are used both in the local Michigan wine industry and for juice and jellies. The St. Julian Winery and Warner’s Winery started in Paw Paw. Paw Paw has an annual Wine and Harvest Festival, which traditionally occurs the weekend following Labor Day.
The Festival features a beer tent, bandstand, live music, a popular grape stomping competition among barefoot locals, carnival foods, and fireworks over scenic Maple Lake. Fine dining establishments in the Theater District cater to attendees of the Festival. Paw Paw is named for the pawpaw trees which once grew along the Paw Paw River. However, the pawpaw trees are less common at present due to the clearing of the shade trees that pawpaws require. An experimental planting of pawpaw trees on the high school grounds failed to flourish due to its location in an open, sunny field. The village is the main setting for the musical Dear Edwina by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich.
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