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September 25, 2018

Great Pumpkins Abound In Port City


OSWEGO, NY – The pumpkins were GREAT. The weather, not so great.

Alan Nesbitt claimed the top prize this year with a 1,268-pound pumpkin.

Alan Nesbitt claimed the top prize this year with a 1,268-pound pumpkin.

And yet, dozens of hardy souls braved the cold temperatures and heavy rain for the annual Great Pumpkin Festival’s weigh off.

The greatest great pumpkin was the last to hit the scales this year.

Alan Nesbitt’s entry totaled 1,268 pounds to slip past John Miller’s 1,218.5 pumpkin.

Nesbitt had a 1,229.5-pound winner in 2009, as well.

Matt VerSchneider of Freeville earned the top spot in the 2010 Great Pumpkin Festival with a 1,283 pounder. This year, the best he could do was 766.5 pounds.

“I’ll be back next year,” he quipped to his fellow growers.

Nesbitt said he used a Rodonis seed, from a 2007 seed, to grow the winner.

“I grew it in a greenhouse this year for the first time. So it wasn’t really a great summer; but I was able to avoid a lot of the negatives, some of the more severe pitfalls since I was in a greenhouse. I got lucky,” he told Oswego County Today.

The negatives were the very wet spring and then in July there was a very hot period, he said.

Great Pumpkin weigh-in coordinator Connie Cosemento talks with Dave McMillan as he unloads some of his entries.

Great Pumpkin weigh-in coordinator Connie Cosemento talks with Dave McMillan as he unloads some of his entries.

“But other than that, especially because of the greenhouse, I was able to keep everything pretty much under control,” he added.

This pumpkin was his “official personal best,” he said, adding, “I had one back a few years ago that was 1,436 but it split.”

It was the only one he had this year. He will probably just take it back home, “carve it and get the seeds for future pumpkins – hopefully bigger!”

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

Nesbitt – 1,268.0

Miller – 1,218.5

Don Black – 1,176.5

Karl Haist – 1,124.0 (squash)

Bill Bobier 1,168.0

Roman Bodziony poses with his grandmother, Pamela Waite, as they check out a small part of the pumpkins Stony Meadow Farm had on display and for sale in East Park.

Roman Bodziony poses with his grandmother, Pamela Waite, as they check out a small part of the pumpkins Stony Meadow Farm had on display and for sale in East Park.

“It takes a lot of patience, water and some good luck to grow a big pumpkin,” Steve Westcott said. “A bit of luck doesn’t hurt, either.”

The local grower’s top entry was 809.5 pounds. He also assisted with carrying the pumpkins to and from the scales.

Pumpkins are like 90 percent plus water,” added Eric Gerry. “Water intake is essential for their large size.”

Given the weather conditions, crowds in East Park for the festival were rather robust.

Roman Bodziony of Manhattan was having fun examining all the pumpkins on display.

“He loves it. He’s never seen a pumpkin before,” explained his grandmother Pamela Waite of Fredonia. “We would have liked the weather to be better. But, you don’t get to see pumpkins this big all the time. We want to get (Roman’s) picture on one of the great big ones!”

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

The giant pumpkins are lined up after being weighed Saturday. They ranged from a few hundred pounds to nearly 1,300 pounds.

The giant pumpkins are lined up after being weighed Saturday. They ranged from a few hundred pounds to nearly 1,300 pounds.

A lady tries to time just the right shot as children whirl around her in the Happy Dragon ride.

A lady tries to time just the right shot as children whirl around her in the Happy Dragon ride.

Bill Bobier poses with his 1,167.5 pumpkin.

Bill Bobier poses with his 1,168.0 pumpkin.

 

Steve Westcott poses with his largest entry in the giant pumpkin competition.

Steve Westcott poses with his largest entry in the giant pumpkin competition.

Volunteers stand on a tarp covering the scales in between weigh-ins. If left unprotected Saturday, not only the heavy rain but the strong winds as well could add extra pounds to the scales and it would have to be recalibrated.

Volunteers stand on a tarp covering the scales in between weigh-ins. If left unprotected Saturday, not only the heavy rain but the strong winds as well could add extra pounds to the scales and it would have to be recalibrated.

 

Dozens of pumpkin growers rallied around this flag Saturday in Oswego.

Dozens of pumpkin growers rallied around this flag Saturday in Oswego.

 

Don Black poses with his top pumpkin. At 1,176.5 pounds, it was the first to crack the 1,000-pound threshold this year.

Don Black poses with his top pumpkin. At 1,176.5 pounds, it was the first to crack the 1,000-pound threshold this year.

 

Volunteers help maneuver a giant pumpkin to the scales.

Volunteers help maneuver a giant pumpkin to the scales.

 

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One Response “Great Pumpkins Abound In Port City”

  1. Debbie
    October 2, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    How about the smallest pumpkin next year. Sort of like a bonzai squash?

    Not really kidding!

    Sorry this year was pretty much of a wash out. For all the vendors, thanks for coming, and …staying!

    Debbie

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