Giant pumpkins battle for heaviest gourd

Giant pumpkins battle for heaviest gourd

Growers of giant gourds will be on hand in Half Moon Bay, Calif., for what’s known as the Super Bowl of Weigh Offs as they compete for the heaviest pumpkin title.

The 46th Annual Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off is Oct. 14 at Half Moon Bay, which kicks off the annual Art & Pumpkin Festival.

The top prize will receive $7 a pound for the heaviest pumpkin, from event organizers and sponsor Safeway, according to a news release. In all, 20 of the heaviest pumpkins will receive prize money, and if the world record of 2,624 pounds is toppled, the grower nets $30,000.

The weigh-off is a spectacle, according to the release, and “the streets around downtown Half Moon Bay are lined with sagging, overloaded trucks crammed with burly orange behemoths” waiting for a turn at the scale.

The immensity of the pumpkins calls for special equipment. Forklifts and harnesses are use to place the pumpkins on the 5-ton scale, with officials from the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office of Weights, Sealers and Measures watching to the process.

The event is a source of town pride. Last year, the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, awarded its first prize to the event which logged the heaviest overall 10 pumpkins, and the Half Moon Bay event bested 113 other weigh-offs across the world. In 2018, the 10 heaviest competitors had an average weight of 2,041.4 pounds, according to the release.