Pumpkin Shows Abound

Everywhere you turn these days you’re seeing gorgeous pumpkins and gourds and events to go with them.

One of my first dates with my bride of now 55-plus years was to the Circleville Pumpkin Show in Pickaway County, Ohio. Lynn grew up on a farm outside neighboring Ashville, Ohio.

The Circleville event began in 1803 (To my fellow Texans, that’s more than 3 decades before the Battle of the Alamo.) I see claims on their website (Look at this url – they got the good one!) https://www.pumpkinshow.com that they’re the oldest festival in Ohio and that they draw 300,000 people to that small city of 13,927.

I have to confess that as a greenhorn Texas horticulture major, only a few months earlier having transferred from Texas A&M to Ohio State, I was dazzled by the variety of pumpkins, squash and gourds in the amazing Cucurbit family all lined up and down Main Street.

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Lynn knew the competitors who were growing the big pumpkins (actually squash). They were farmers who made their real living producing corn and soybeans just like her dad. They were friendly competitors, but they were competitors nonetheless.

So, I saw a winner that year that topped out, I believe, at something short of 500 pounds. I, who grew up in big old Texas, where pumpkins were about the size of my basketball, was amazed. 500 pounds! Wow!

Well, stand back, Small Stack. This year’s winner for North America was crowned just three days ago in Half Moon Bay, California. Travis Gienger from Anoka, Minnesota, trailered in his winner. It tipped the scales at a magnificent 2,560 pounds.

The event was labeled as the World Championship, but there are concurrent weigh-ins in Europe, and some of their numbers appear to be larger. I’m not going to get into that brawl. I’ll just leave it with this one. It’s certainly impressive enough.

Travis Ginger from Anoka MN produced the largest pumpkin in North America in 2022. It weighed in earlier this week at 2,560 pounds! (Photo credit: AP Photo/Haven Daley)

Here is a story that ran online on the SFGate website.

And if you’d like to compare that weight to the competition-winning weights from countries all over the world and states all over the US, look at this website. (To see states, scroll to the bottom of the story. Texas looks pretty wimpy.)

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What about pumpkins in Texas?
The pumpkins and gourds you see in nurseries and groceries here in Texas very likely grew up in Floyd County, Floydada, Texas.

It all began 70 years ago when one family planted 5 acres of pumpkins and sold them roadside. Now the immediate Floydada area has about 1,200 acres (2 square miles) and the High Plains in general has some 5 times that many acres dedicated to pumpkins and gourds. That amounts to several million pumpkins annually, although 2022 was a down year because of the heat and drought.

From the Dallas Arboretum website, pumpkins are always showstoppers. It’s a “Fall Fairy Tale.” See the Arboretum website for details. Click image for larger view.

Autumn at the Arboretum
The Dallas Arboretum puts on a great show each fall, and pumpkins are a centerpiece. They’re a giant customer of the Floydada folks, bringing in 100,000 Texas pumpkins and gourds to build their spectacular showplace.

There are events going on every day. Take a look at the Autumn at the Arboretum part of the website and take the family out while the weather is terrific.

If you’re expecting a crowd this Thanksgiving….
(Photo from website Circleville, Ohio, Pumpkin Show)

Finally, if you’re wanting to bake a world champion pumpkin pie, here’s your goal, as currently held by the Circleville Pumpkin Show. This record was set to commemorate the 100th anniversary of this event.

Here’s the recipe from the Pumpkin Show’s website. Better make sure you have all your supplies ready before you begin.

100th Anniversary Record Setting Pie
14 feet in diameter
360 pounds of sugar
795 pounds of pumpkin
60 lbs. of powdered milk
60 dozen eggs
75 gallons of water
400 lbs. of flour
15 people to mix
10 hours to bake

Posted by Neil Sperry
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