RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A massive pumpkin and watermelon have broken records at the North Carolina State Fair. West Virginia farmers have proven to be cream of the crop, or patch, when it comes to pumpkin growing.
The pumpkin contest, hosted by The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, is open to competitors from other states. There is a separate contest for the largest North Carolina pumpkins and watermelons. Growers from North Carolina can enter both contests.
Go big or gourd home
This year the top seven pumpkin growers all had gourds weighing more than 1,000 pounds. The top three winners in the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth Competition were all from West Virginia.
- 1st place: Robert Cyrus of Wayne County, West Va. with a 2,124-pound pumpkin
- 2nd place: Chris Rodebaugh of Greenbrier County, West. Va. with a 2,025-pound pumpkin
- 3rd place: Albert Rodebaugh of Nicholas County, West. Va. with a 1,736-pound pumpkin
State Fair pumpkin winners are:
- Blue Ribbon: Hinzy C. Williams of Nash County with a 1,097-pound pumpkin
- Red Ribbon: Donald Murphy of Lenoir County with a 1028.7-pound pumpkin
- White Ribbon, 3rd place with honor: Cameron Jernigan of Wake County with a 865.3-pound pumpkin.
“We have an award-winning display this year,” said April Blazich, horticulture superintendent. “I think our visitors will really enjoy seeing these pumpkins and watermelons on display this year and that’s the benefit of hosting the special competition. By weight, this is definitely the largest competition of this type we have ever had at the fair. When you come to the fair, you expect to see jaw-dropping things. These competitors fulfilled that this year.”
What a melon!
Watermelons also had an impressive showing at the NC State Fair.
The record for the heaviest watermelon grown anywhere in the world this year went to Chris Kent of Sevier County who grew a 308-pound watermelon.
Winners for the sanctioned State Fair watermelon contest are
- Blue Ribbon: Todd Dawson of Wake County with a 299.4-pound watermelon
- Red Ribbon: Hinzy C. Williams, who also placed in the pumpkin contest, with a 273.7-pound watermelon
- White Ribbon: Patrick Vanbeck of Wake County with a 251.8-pound watermelon.
The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth is an international organization that promotes growing giant vegetables. The top three winners in pumpkins take home between $1.50 and $3 per pound. The top three winners in watermelons are awarded between $3 and $6 per pound. This year’s event was sponsored by Agri Supply.
Fairgoers can see and photograph these giant beauties in the Agri Supply Expo Center at the N.C. State Fair, Oct. 12-22.