Will the world pumpkin heavyweight record go down? The intrigue is building as Superstar Gourd Growing Greats and their astonishing, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized orange orbs gather on the morning of Monday, October 8th for the 39th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off –– in the World Pumpkin Capital of Half Moon Bay, Calif., –– the kick-off to Half Moon Bay's world-famous Art & Pumpkin Festival which takes place October 13-14.
Event organizers are offering a $25,000 mega-prize for the world's first 1-ton pumpkin or $10,000 for a new world record at Half Moon Bay –– considered the "Super Bowl of Weigh-Offs". A host of accomplished, grizzled veteran growers will be contending for the coveted title, the $25,000 1-ton/world record prize and thousands of dollars in additional prize money. In a unique pay-by-the-pound system, the winner will take home a hefty $6 per pound for the champion mega-pumpkin.
To receive the $25,000 1-ton/world record prize or $10,000 world record prize, the grower must break and hold the 1-ton record and/or world record at the conclusion of the Half Moon Bay weigh-off. If two or more growers happen to break the 1-ton mark and/or world record at Half Moon Bay, the prize money would go to the grower of the heaviest pumpkin. The current world record is 1,818.5-pounds, grown by Jim & Kelsey Bryson and set at the Prince Edward County Pumpkin fest in Wellington, Ontario Canada in October, 2011.
Defending champion Leonardo Urena of Napa, obliterated the competition at last year's Half Moon Bay weigh-off with his titanic 1,704-pound Atlantic Giant that set a new California record. Beauty will share center stage with beefy brawn –– a special $500 prize will be awarded to the "most beautiful pumpkin" as judged by the audience based on color, shape and size.
Using forklifts and harnesses, the monster gourds will be carefully placed on a 5-ton capacity digital scale under the watchful eye of officials from the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner's Office of Weights, Sealers, and Measures.
The official weighing will take place from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on the I.D.E.S. Grounds, 735 Main Street in Half Moon Bay. The champion pumpkin, along with the top five pumpkins overall, will be on display at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival on October 13-14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For information on the weigh-off and festival, call 650-726-9652 or www.miramarevents.com