Thursday, October 20, 2011
Bauman's Farms: Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off, a great big fun time, really.
The biggest looking pumpkin being manhandled and forklifted towards the scales.
After I took the photo of the pumpkin being dropped from the helicopter which you can see on yesterday's post, I decided to head for the store to check out the baked goods. That's when I got to hear Uncle Pete's accordion, up close and personal and enjoyable. Inside the store I tasted a raspberry pound cake and bought one to take home. Then I fell for a scoop of Tillamook chocolate and vanilla swirl ice cream. I walked to the Zipcar and sat down inside it to enjoy the only ice cream I've had in months and months. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Next I decided to head on back to Portland.
Following the exit arrows, I came upon the site of the other event that had drawn me to Bauman's Farms in the first place--the Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off. There was a parking space waiting right there for me! I walked about 30 feet to stand beside a waist-high fence that separated me from two rows of huge and/or giant pumpkins, two forklifts, and men all over the place who had lots of pumpkin weighing and/or growing in their past. After watching from that spot, I walked around the fence to the edge of the opening in the huge shed to stand about 10 feet from the scales so that I could get some photos from a better angle. To my right, lots of people of all ages sat on a grandstand of sorts, constructed of stacked bales of hay.
In between the weight announcements, I talked with a very nice, tall man who said he carved pumpkins, that he had carved one in the Bronx Botanical Garden in NYC and had displayed a different one he had carved on the Today Show. I Googled just now and found photos and some video of him carving at the Botanical Garden. Turns out that I was visiting with Scott Cully, a repeat Guinness World Record Holder carver of the largest jack-o-lantern. The one at the Botanical Garden weighed 1810.5 pounds! Whoa!
Anyway, here's some of what I witnessed for the next hour and a half. I don't think anyone planned for it to take that long, but a 1272 pound pumpkin, followed by what turned out to be a 1313 pound pumpkin put the scales out of order! Another one had to be brought in with a forklift. Also it was announced that the weights would not be certified until the certified scale was repaired which we were welcome to wait around for because a repair person had been summoned. I decided to leave once all of them had been weighed. I knew I could eventually find out the correct weights on KGW because, after all, their Drew Carney had been there for his early morning Out and About segment, and I figured they wouldn't pass up the chance to report on the outcome.
These photos are in sequence as they were weighed, not by weight.
The 1272 pound pumpkin.
The 1313 pound pumpkin and the lady who grew it. The digital, certified scale would not work--that's why the read-out is zeros.
The 1504.5 pound pumpkin.
The 1371 pound pumpkin.
The 1502 pound pumpkin.
Turns out the biggest looking pumpkin weighed the most! The winner, at 1580.5 pounds, had been grown by Thad Starr. I snapped this shot as the weight was being announced. I think he had just heard it and was about to bust out in a great big smile and I clicked. I heard on TV that he won $9000!
The most unique thing I heard all day--one man standing across from the bin of pumpkins at my side and to my left said to another man standing next to me on my left: "You growing this year?" "Just one. Split. Backyard." "Oh." Now, it took me several seconds and all I could do to not turn and stare at the two of them before I realized that the first man was not seeing someone he hadn't seen in a year and who had grown taller, they were talking about growing giant pumpkins! Sweet.
One more interesting sight, a bunch of pumpkin-knowledgeable men standing on the certified scale as an attempt to reset it took place. The man in the orange shirt is the guy they had called up out of the audience to help figure out what was wrong with it--I think he's on the phone to the cavalry. See the 199 on the digital read-out? The man in the black hat (I love typing that!) had stood on the scale alone at first, excited when it weighed him in at 199, thinking OK, it's fixed! But when all of those men stepped on it to see if it would continue to register added weight, nothing happened. Nothing. That's when a forklift moseyed off with a young man at the controls, to get another scale which it brought back to the shed. Several men guided it to the table. Let the pumpkin-weighing resume!