A young visitor enjoys last year’s pumpkin contest at Waimea Town Market. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WAIMEA TOWN MARKET FOR NHN)
Keiki pose with their ribbon at last year’s Waimea Town Market pumpkin contest. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WAIMEA TOWN MARKET FOR NHN)
You know fall fun has finally started when Waimea Town Market at Parker School has its annual pumpkin contest.
According to Paul Johnston, the market’s event organizer, this year’s Fifth Annual Big Island Giant Pumpkin Contest this Saturday, Oct. 5, should produce some record-breaking results.
“We are hoping to have more entries this year,” he said.
With more than 500 starter pumpkins given out last April, Johnston said he expects a wider, more competitive field.
Hawaii 4-H Junior Master Gardener Program and the Hawaii Island School Garden Network partnered with Waimea’s Kekela Farms to grow and distribute the pumpkins. Johnston said seeds were raised in pots until they were ready to be given away. He said hopes that many of the local school students will participate using the starters.
“It is fun to see them try to do it,” he said, of growing a large pumpkin.
This year award ribbons will be given in four categories: Heaviest, Most Beautiful, Most Unusual and (for junior gardeners and school gardens) Best Record Keeping/Photo Log. There is also a $100 cash prize for the heaviest pumpkin.
“The previous record is 286 lbs. set in the second year we did the contest,” Johnston said.
Johnston said the goal for the contest is to have a pumpkin enter that weighs 1,000 pounds. He said the world record for pumpkin growing is 2,000 pounds.
Johnston said that for the large pumpkins, the flesh is especially thick. He said they are usually used for pumpkin carving contests after they are weighed.
“It is kind of fun to have the weigh in and see the entries,” Johnston said of the Waimea Town Market contest. “The little ones especially love it. The whole purpose really is to get children interested in pumpkins specifically and in gardening in general.”
Everyone is welcome to stop by the market to watch the weigh-in. The scales will open at 10 a.m., with registration at 9 a.m. Weigh-in sponsors are Crop Production Services and BEI Hawaii.
“We have been really happy that these companies have supported us,” Johnston said.
Johnston said the additional sponsorship has allowed them to expand the categories this year. For more information, contact Johnston at 938-4540.