Some of the world’s largest pumpkins are expected in northeast Iowa this weekend. The Anamosa Pumpkinfest runs Saturday and Sunday along with the community’s 22nd annual Pumpkin Weigh-off. Organizer Doug Edel says they’re expecting visitors and growers from near and far to crowd around the orange giants.

He says the official weigh-off site is among only about 70 in all of North America that are certified for the competition. Pumpkin growers will be coming from all across Iowa for the event, as well as from Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota, Colorado and Wisconsin. In addition to braggin’ rights, there are thousands of dollars in prizes for the most-prime pumpkins. Edel says this has been a tough year for pumpkin growers.

He says the hot weather followed by all the rain would have made it a real challenge for some farmers who’d hoped for gargantuan gourds. The record for the state’s biggest pumpkin was broken several years in a row at Anamosa Pumpkinfest. In 2007, Edel says Anamosa received national recognition by weighing in the second-largest pumpkin in the world at 1,662 pounds from Des Moines grower Don Young.

Given the weather this year, he says there likely won’t be as many pumpkins in the 1,300 to 1,500-pound range, but there will still be plenty that will be over 1,000 pounds. Since there are so many growers who will be trucking their pumpkins into Anamosa from afar, Edel says there very well could be some gigantic surprises.

He says the current World Record is 1,725 pounds and Anamosa has seen pumpkins well over 1,600 pounds a couple of times. While the Pumpkin Weigh-off is the event’s biggest attraction, Pumpkinfest includes other activities: a parade, a 5K run, a chili cookoff, a horseshoe tournament and a pumpkin carving exhibit.

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By Janelle Tucker, KMCH, Manchester