Pumpkin heavyweights spar in Half Moon Bay

Hordes of ambitious gourd growers from throughout the West Coast will descend upon Half Moon Bay this morning for the city's yearly world championship pumpkin weigh-off. The 34th annual event kicks off the pumpkin capital's Art and Pumpkin Festival, which takes place Saturday and Sunday. About 80 contestants are expected to compete for the first-place prize of $7,000 for the heaviest pumpkin, according to festival officials.

At 7 a.m., the first pumpkin will be lowered by forklift onto a 5-ton capacity digital scale monitored by officials from the San Mateo County Agricultural Commissioner's Office.

Approximately $20,000 total in prize money will go to the growers of the top 10 heaviest pumpkins and to the top three from San Mateo County. A special $500 prize will go to the most beautiful pumpkin.

The 2006 winner weighed in at 1,223 pounds, according to festival officials.

The event takes place from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the I.D.E.S. Grounds, 735 Main St., in Half Moon Bay.

— Bay City News

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