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