by Nicole Washington
It was a beautiful, cool, and slightly breezy morning in Placerville, CA. It was roughly 8:00 am on Sunday, October 6th and the staff members at the Front Yard Nursery were preparing for their semi-annual Pumpkin and Squash Contest. The contest was to have all sorts of categories--including “guess-the-weight”, largest pumpkin, weirdest pumpkin, and best-decorated pumpkin. Early in the morning, the nursery held the “guess-the-weight” contest, in which participants guessed the weight of a pumpkin that had been grown on nursery grounds. The other contests, which would occur later in the day, had been split into three age groups: “adults”, “older children”, and “younger children”. The different categories that people could enter into made for a fun, family event where everyone could compete for a variety of great prizes offered by the nursery.
As time drew near for the contest to begin, more people from around the area began to show up. The first day’s pumpkins began rolling in (not quite rolling, but you understand what I mean) when competitors brought their pumpkins and squashes in trucks. Then, the pumpkins and squashes were lifted onto great wooden pallets for weighing. As the day warmed up, more people began showing up to spectate and support those who did enter the contests. When young children started showing up with their funny creations and strange-looking squash, they immediately bombarded the balloon-lady, who was making balloon animals from all different-colored balloons under one of the retail green houses.
Festivities continued throughout the day. In the afternoon, the owner of the Front Yard Nursery, Richard Hosking, grilled up some delicious hot dogs. Lemonade and freshly made popcorn were also made available to the spectators as they eagerly awaited to hear who had the largest pumpkin. As the employees at Front Yard Nursery took the tractor, placed the pumpkins in a bag, and weighed them, it was evident which one would win.
The end of the weigh-ins neared and the judging began, everyone was excited and nervous to find out who won in each category. Of course, people were mainly curious about who would win the largest pumpkin contest. Attendees were told that last year’s heaviest pumpkin weighed about 577 pounds. This year’s largest pumpkin would far exceed that number. Everyone sat down under the cloth of the veggie greenhouse and waited patiently for the judges to come to a decision. Finally, the time had arrived, and the judges were ready to announce who the winners were. They went through the categories of weirdest and best-decorated pumpkins first. Finally, they announced whose pumpkin was the heaviest. Surprisingly, the heaviest pumpkin ended up weighing 697 pounds! The owner of the pumpkin received a wonderful gift card prize of one hundred dollars, and recognition on the nursery’s website. It was a fun day for all, and the nursery is already looking forward to next year’s contestants.
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