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Sincerely Giant Pumpkins

Photo by Rick Ganley

Cartoon character Linus Van Pelt explains to Charlie Brown’s sister, Sally, how the “Great Pumpkin” rises from the “most sincere” pumpkin patch.

The website “pumpkinnook.com” tracks pumpkin festivals and weigh-ins from coast to coast. NH offerings this year included the highly competitive weigh-off at Deerfield Fair, the Pumpkin Festival in Keene, a pumpkin “chunkin” contest in Milford, a “giant pumpkin drop” from a crane into a portable swimming pool and a pumpkin regatta with giant pumpkins floating on the Piscataquog River in Goffstown.

The “Giant Pumpkin” craze is fueled by cash prizes at State Fairs with big dollars paid for a single seed. Aspiring growers covet both pollen and seeds from previous champions. Giant squashes can add 40 pounds and consume 50 gallons of water per day in summer at the risk of splitting. State Fair prize premiums at Rochester Fair paid $750 to first prize whereas the prestigious Topsfield, MA State Fair offered a bounty of $20,000 to the first New Englander to grow a one ton pumpkin.

This past summer’s near-perfect pumpkin-growing weather - not too rainy - yielded giant news from the pumpkin patch: new world records! Boscawen resident Steve Geddes raised a world record pumpkin that weighed 1,843 pounds at Deerfield Fair. He only held that world record for mere hours. A new Great Pumpkin record was set by Ron Wallace of Rhode Island. His 2,009 pound pumpkin smashed the 1-ton barrier at the Topsfield Fair.

No word from the judges if “sincerity” played a role.

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