Minnesota is out of its gourd like never before this harvest season.
A pumpkin weighed in at 1,918½ pounds at the Stillwater Harvest Festival over the weekend, setting an all-time Minnesota record, according to www.bigpumpkins.com, the authoritative website for “the giant pumpkin growing community.”
The previous Minnesota state record of 1,893 pounds was set two years ago.
The proud record-holding grower is Chris Qualley, of Otsego, who planted the seeds six months ago outside his home.
However, Qualley’s prized pumpkin was not the largest weighed at the Stillwater event. Two entries from Wisconsin outweighed Qualley’s gourd. The festival champ, from Markesan, tipped the scale at 2,106 pounds. A pumpkin from New Richmond weighed 1,938 pounds.
Wisconsin’s record pumpkin was grown last year, weighing in at 2,185 pounds during the 2015 Stillwater festival.
Explaining why Wisconsin seems to have a better grip on yielding the biggest pumpkins, grower Joe Ailt, president of the St. Croix Growers Association from Deer Park, Wis., said, “Us Wisconsin folk have more growers who’ve been doing this longer than [those in] Minnesota, generally speaking.”
For those who missed the Stillwater gathering, Qualley’s pumpkin hits the road and will be on display in St. Paul on Oct. 29 at the Monster Dash half marathon, 10-mile run and 5-kilometer run.