GREAT PUMPKIN COMMONWEALTH GROWS TO OVER 20 SITES

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GREAT PUMPKIN COMMONWEALTH GROWS TO OVER 20 SITES

FOR 1996 WEIGHOFF TO BE HELD ON OCTOBER 5

By Danny Dill

Growth of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth seems to be keeping pace with the

giant vegetables its competitors are producing.

In 1995, weighoffs were held at 19 Commonwealth sites, from Nova Scotia to

California, as growers harvested their giant pumpkins and entered them in local

contests in hopes of capturing one of the top prizes in the international

competition.

Last year’s GPC grand champ was a 963-pound U.S. record, grown by

of Lowville, N.Y., which she

entered at the Ottawa site. Second place went to Geneva Emmons, Issaquah,

Wash., at 939 pounds; and third place was 887 pounds, grown by Lorraine Orr,

from Howick, Que.

In 1996, growers will not only be hoping to surpass the world record holder,

but their attention will be focused on the elusive 1,000-pound barrier. Herman

Bax, of Brockville, Ont., literally clawed at that plateau in 1994, when he

grew a world record pumpkin that weighed in at 990 pounds.

Until that record was set, even the most enthusiastic growers in the

international pumpkin patch expected it could take until the end of the decade

for the Dill’s Atlantic Giant (TM) seeds developed by Howard Dill of Windsor,

N.S., to produce a 1,000-pounder. The 1993 record was 884 pounds, grown by Don

Black, of Winthrop, N.Y., but that was shattered in 1994 by Bax and three other

growers.

The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth was organized in 1993 with four sites. The

network grew to 14 locations in 1994, and another five sites signed on for the

1995 weighoffs.

The Commonwealth presented $8,000 in prizes, in addition to those awarded at

local sites. First place winner took home $3,000; second, $2,000; third,

$1,000; and fourth and fifth, $500 each. In addition to the Commonwealth grand

prize, the Nut Tree, Calif., site offered the Great Guinness Award of $1,000,

if a new world record was set at any participating GPC site. That site also

offered to purchase the year’s largest pumpkin to be exhibited during weekends

in October.

The GPC also awarded $500 for the largest squash entered, and $250 for the

second largest; $250 for the heaviest watermelon, and $100 for second.

The hobby of growing giant pumpkins has been around for more than 100 years,

but soared to new heights after Dill’s years of research and selective

pollination yielded the new seed variety that has produced world record giant

pumpkins for more than 16 years.

Dill won his first championship in 1979 with a weight of 438.5 pounds, but

that record has now more than doubled. Pumpkins grown by competitors are

weighed at individual sites to determine local or regional winners. The top

weights from each weighoff are then compiled to decide the overall winners.

For more information, please contact a GPC site near you regarding regional

or local prizes and awards, newsletters, growing information, rules and

regulations.

Best wishes to all pumpkin growers in 1996.


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webmaster:

Textfile Courtesy of Al Kingsbury and Danny Dill

Last Updated: Fri Sep 06 10:30:00PM CST 1996


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