Saturday is pumpkin day at Uesugi Farms in San Martin.
But not just any pumpkin will do. No, they’re looking for big pumpkins. Pumpkins that are so big, they tip the scales at 1,000 pounds or more.
Welcome to the 22nd Annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.
The goal of this year’s event, dubbed the “Super Bowl of Pumpkin Weigh Offs,” is to set the World Record for the heaviest pumpkin, so says Uesugi Farms owner Joe Aiello.
And Aiello is serious. There’s $25,000 in prize money available for contenders from throughout the west coast who enter their pumpkins into the weigh-off. The first-place pumpkin award winner will receive $7 per pound in Saturday’s contest, with additional bonus money totaling up to $30,000 for a World Record Pumpkin.
In order to snag the top cash and world record recognition, a pumpkin needs to weigh more than the current record weight of 1,818 pounds. That record was set in 2011 by a pumpkin grown by Jim and Kelsy Bryson and entered into the Prince Edward County Pumpkinfest in Wellington, Ontario, Canada.
In California, the record weight is 1,704 pounds, held by a pumpkin grown by Leonardo Urena of Napa, and set at Half Moon Bay last year. And at Uesugi Farms, the record is held by Thad Starr of Pleasant Hill, Oregon, for his pumpkin that weighed in at 1,610 pounds in last year’s competition.
During the competition, which starts at 1 p.m., each pumpkin will be lifted with a forklift on a giant electronic scale with a custom-built harness, under the watchful eye of officials from the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth International Competition organization. Pumpkin growers who want to participate need to register from 9 to 11 a.m.
Uesugi Farms Pumpkin Park is a certified weigh-off site for the GPC, which is the major organization and sanctioning body that oversees competitions for growing giant pumpkins and vegetables. The GPC sets the recognized standard for all world records in the curcurbita maxima family as used by Guinness for their World Record attempts.
The event, which is open to the public, will take place at 14485 Monterey Road, San Martin, and will include live music, and demonstrations from master pumpkin carver Ray Villafane. Other activities at the farm include family entertainment, children’s games, train rides, a carousel, and a food and gift marketplace. Parking is $3. For details, call (408) 778-7225.