In Search of the Most Gargantuan of Gourds

Annual pumpkin weigh-off draws farmers near and far

Monday, Oct 12, 2009  |  Updated 7:22 AM PDT
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HALF MOON BAY, CA - OCTOBER 13: Pumpkin farmer John Mueller stands next to his oversized pumpkins at the 35th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off October 13, 2008 in Half Moon Bay, California. Thad Starr of Pleasant Hill, Oregon took the top honor at tihis years pumpkin weigh-off with his pumpkin coming in at 1528 pounds, earning his $6 per pound in prize money for a total of $9168. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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It's time to visit the pumpkin patch and pick out a few classic jack-o-lanterns that make us feel like we've really hit the Halloween season.

But the traditional pumpkin-picking treat wouldn't be complete without the annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay.

This year's contest of gargantuan gourds will be the 36th annual. The weighing will take place from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with forklifts and special harnesses lifting the pumpkins onto a 5-ton capacity industrial-strength digital scale, spokesman Tim Beeman said.

The grand champion pumpkin, along with the top five weigh-off pumpkins, will be displayed at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival from Oct. 17 to 18 on Main Street.

Farmers from as far away as Iowa lug their massive produce to the annual contest on the Peninsula. Last year's champion, Thad Starr of Pleasant Hill, Ore., won with a 1,528-pound Atlantic Giant pumpkin.

In addition to the heaviest pumpkin, a special $500 prize will be awarded to the most beautiful pumpkin.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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