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1-Ton Gourd Takes First Place And $19K At Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

Jamie Ferrell Jamie Ferrell

1-Ton Gourd Takes First Place And $19K At Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival

The massive mega-gourd weighed in at 2,191 lbs!

This weekend, the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival hosted the 2021 Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off! Pumpkin masters from around the country showed up with absolutely enormous gourds to complete for cash prizes at the “Super Bowl of weigh-offs.”


First place went to Jeff Uhlmeyer of Olympia, Washington, whose behemoth of a pumpkin clocked in at 2,191 pounds. He got $19,719 ($9 per pound) for his achievements among dozens of other worthy competitors!

Leonardo Urena of Napa took second place and $3K with a 2,007-pound gourd, and John Hawkley of Napa took third and $2.5K with a 1,857-pound gourd. The top 10 pumpkins all weighed more than 1,000 pounds, and most growers came from around California.


The legendary world championship event also promises a $30,000 mega-prize for anyone who can manage to break the world record, although no one at this year’s event managed to do so. The current world record was set just this past September by Stefano Cutrupi of Italy, who grew a pumpkin weighing 2,703 lbs.

What makes it so difficult to grow a giant prize-worthy pumpkin is timing it right for competition. In the spring, farmers plant massive seeds from their best Atlantic Giant pumpkins, and grow them in rich soil with plenty of compost, fertilizer, and water. At their best, giant pumpkins can grow up to 50 pounds a day! As soon as they’re cut, pumpkins can lose 6-8 pounds a day. All the more impressive for our first-place pumpkin, which came down to Half Moon Bay from Washington!

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Half Moon Bay’s famous pumpkin weigh-off has been in the works since 1974, and pumpkin size has increased steadily in the decades since its inception. The largest pumpkin in the competition’s history was grown by Joel Holland of Sumner, WA in 2017, at 2,363 lbs.

The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, which usually follows the Safeway Pumpkin Weigh-Off, has unfortunately been canceled by Half Moon Bay City Council. This means that the giant first-place pumpkin will not be on public display this year.

 

Featured image: Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

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