Great Pumpkins Abound In Port City

Matt VerSchneider of Freeville poses with his 1,283 pound great pumpkin.
Matt VerSchneider of Freeville poses with his 1,283 pound great pumpkin.

OSWEGO, NY – They saved the greatest great pumpkin for last this year.

After coming in second place in 2009 with 1,089-pound entry, Matt VerSchneider of Freeville (south of Cortland) earned the top spot in the 2010 Great Pumpkin Festival with a 1,283 pounder.

That would have even beat Alan Nesbitt’s 1,229.5-pound winner last year.

The great pumpkin weigh off was held today (Oct. 2) in Oswego’s East Park. The Pumpkin Festival continues on Sunday.

Andy Wolf lingered in the top spot with a 1,274-pound pumpkin. Nesbitt’s entry for 2010 was weighed next and settled in at 1,193.5 pounds.

Then, Walter Merriam’s pumpkin came in at 1,241.0 pounds with one entry left – VerSchneider’s behemoth.

“That looks like it’s the winner,” Merriam acquiesced as the final pumpkin was lowered on the scales.

VerSchneider playfull covered the digital weight readout to add to the tension. But when the red numbers came to a rest on the screen, he flashed a thumbs up signal.

Cracking the 1,000-pound plateau this year were:

  • VerSchneider – 1,283
  • Wolf – 1,274
  • Merriam – 1,241.0
  • Nesbitt – 1,193.5
  • Dave Clements – 1,104.5
  • Joe Pukos – 1,022.0
  • Brian Staring – 1,010.5

“It takes a lot of patience, water and some good luck to grow a big pumpkin,” VerSchneider said. “You have to have just the right conditions, and a bit of luck doesn’t hurt.”

He started his pumpkin on April 25 and took it out of the patch Friday night to bring it to Oswego, he explained.

This is his ninth year taking part in the Oswego festival.

The winners in the other competitions were:

1.  Matt VerSchneider – 767.5 lbs. – Freeville, NY
2.  Dick DeLapp – 420.0 – Oswego, NY

1.  Karl Haist – 190.0 lbs. – Clarence Center, NY
2.  Andy Wolf – 174.0 – Little Valley, NY

1.  Steve Westcott – 2.85 lbs. – Oswego, NY
2.  Steve Westcott – 2.40  – Oswego, NY
3.  David McMillan –     1.10 – Macedon, NY

1.  David McMillan –     84.25 inches – Macedon, NY

The only thing bigger than the pumpkins was the crowd at the 2010 Oswego Great Pumpkin Fest.

The warm weather brought out hundreds of people, young and old.

Aside from the pumpkin and other weigh-ins, this year’s pumpkin festival had dozens of craft and food vendors set up in East Park, including a wine and cheese tasting event, as well as a wide variety of goods, music and activities.