Monday, September 24, 2012

Oktoberfest-Ya Feeling Lucky, Punk?

Most of what goes on at Oktoberfest is the same one year to the next.  And this is good.  But now and again a new event is held.  This was the first ever Oktoberfest Giant Pumpkin Competition.  I suppose to be accurate you should say it was the first competition held at the Oktoberfest, but hardly the first one at this location.  It is a county fair grounds and big whopping veggies have been a standard attraction at such places from way back.

But still, having beer close to hand and the sounds from two nearby polka bands warming up added some extra charm.

And we are talking some big, big pumpkins.

There are a lot of fork lifts involved in this kind of competition!

Notice how this fellow has modified his car to resemble a pumpkin.  His entry was one of the few that had a name.....Envy.

Large pumpkins.  Small person.

This event was fairly relaxed, but Giant Pumpkins are a serious business.  People travel from coast to coast to enter competitions, and the prize money can be serious.  Even also rans have inherent value, often sold to stores or Halloween venues.  Not surprisingly there are lots of little tricks from serious competitors.  Here a water filled jug supplies that last little bit of water, or perhaps just prevents a few ounces of water loss.  Kind of like a pumpkin on life support.

Did I mention serious competitors?  Looks a little like Pumpkin gang colors, but theirs is a good natured fanaticism.   More on The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.  There is also a World Pumpkin Confederation.  I do not know if the two groups co-exist peacefully.

It is never a good day unless you learn something.  When I got up on this chilly Saturday morning to come and work at Oktoberfest I did not even suspect the existence of "long gourds", much less that they were grown competitively.  Looks to be about 8 feet.

Punks get measured in all dimensions before the weigh in.  This allows an estimated weight.  At the moment of truth they are then declared to be some percentage "light" or "heavy".  Naturally all have been inspected, it would not do at all to have the unscrupulous of the world claiming a new record (as of this moment 1,818 pounds) by injecting lead or some such.  These paler looking pumpkins are all Dill's Atlantic Giants, a strain of plant whose genome has been so ruthlessly hijacked towards relentless obesity that all other traits are eclipsed.

Giant Pumpkineers tend to wear orange.  Here is a happy bunch.  Note the scale reading in the upper left.  944 pounds is pretty darned good, although there were several over the half ton mark.

The pumpkin cultists were recruiting, plugging their seminars and offering a free package of Atlantic Giant seeds.  But my prior attempts at growing these freaks of nature was not all that successful, and I find it implausible that I would be able to mange the roughly 600 gallons of water per week that the vegetable brutes demand.

Oh, the winner.....

A three-quarter ton vegetable.

1 comment:

Honeybee said...

A wonderful chronicle of a nice addition to the festivities. And thanks for your support to the Fest grounds crew. I best it was the outside chance to load a giant 'goken' with a forklift that got you interested.