21 Aug 2014
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Elk Grove's Giant Pumpkin Festival is This Weekend

The 18th annual event, put on by the Cosumnes Community Services District, will feature pumpkins weighing nearly one ton.

Elk Grove's Giant Pumpkin Festival is This Weekend

Most average supermarkets have pumpkins of varying sizes: Some that will fit on a windowsill, some that would make a good pie and some that are big enough for a large jack-o-lantern.

What's a little harder to find is a pumpkin that requires a forklift to be moved. 

The Cosumnes Community Services District (CSD) will host the 18th annual Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival Saturday and Sunday in Elk Grove Regional Park. This year's fairytale-inspired theme is "Once Upon a Giant Pumpkin." Here's a rundown of the festivities:

What is it?

Growers bring their largest pumpkins, gourds, tomatoes, watermelon and other produce to see whose is heaviest and biggest. The grower of the heaviest pumpkin wins $6 for every pound it moves the scale–last year's 1,684.5-pound pumpkin earned a prize of more than $10,000.

"I understand we have some really large pumpkins coming that could potentially challenge that," CSD Recreation Supervisor Kristyn Staby said.

Other attractions include musicians, vendors, scarecrow and pumpkin-dessert competitions, as well as another use for the giant pumpkins: the sixth-annual Pumpkin Regatta, where huge pumpkins are hollowed out and used as boats to race across the park's lake.

Staby said every CSD staffer has a different favorite event–she's looking forward to the entertainers, while she says her supervisor would definitely say the giant pumpkin weigh-off.

When is it?

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The giant pumpkin weigh-off is 9 a.m. on Saturday, with awards given out at 4 p.m.

The Pumpkin Regatta starts at noon on Sunday.

Where is it?

The event is held at Elk Grove Regional Park, 9950 Elk Grove-Florin Rd.

How much is it?

Admission to the event is free, and parking is $5.

Is it worth it?

The CSD estimates that 40,000 people attended last year's festival. It's been featured in Martha Stewart Living magazine and in a Weather Channel special called "Pumpkinpalooza." Elk Grove Patch readers voted it the best festival or event in town in our Readers' Choice awards.

If you're still on the fence, here's a video I shot at the 2009 Pumpkin Regatta.


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