Organizers expecting 100 plus entries between 600 pounds to more than 1 ton
While the global pandemic has caused many groups to “throw in the towel” when it comes to hosting events, the St. Croix Growers’ Association (SCGA) has maintained a “show must go on attitude” with its 15th annual Stillwater Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, and it may be the best yet with possible world records set.
According to SCGA board member and event co-founder, Matt Marose, the group will have roughly 70 growers attending with a possible 100 entries, ranging from 600 pounds to more than 2,000 pounds. This would be double the number of entries compared to years past, said Marose. “This is due to expanding the number of entries to three per grower plus being one of a handful of weigh-offs across the nation—maybe the world,” he said, “We all are in suspense to see what that day brings.”
The virtual event will livestream Saturday, Oct. 10, via the growers’ website www.stcroixgrowers.com. The organization will start promptly at 9 a.m. weighing the pumpkins, and finish off the day with the awards ceremony scheduled for 4 p.m. Due to the Coronavirus, the actual event is not open to the general public, but people can do a drive-by viewing of the weigh-off-site, or “camp out” in his or her vehicle to watch the show at the intersection of Osgood and Highway 36 in Stillwater, Minn. This area is better known to locals as the “old Denny Hecker auto sales lot.” However, the official address is 14702 60th St. N., Stillwater.
While the event is hosted by the SCGA, it is a combined effort with Stillwater’s business group, summer Tuesdays. Together, they, jointly, raised $11,000 for this year’s prize structure. Cub Foods, became this year’s key financial sponsor, when the grocer soley donated $4,000.
According to Marose and Joe Ailts, the SCGA president and the other event co-founder, Cub Foods was the lead sponsor of the weigh-off during the first few years of the event’s development. Therefore, they both stated in agreeance, “The St. Croix Grower’s Association would like to give special thanks to them (Cub Foods) for their past and present contributions.”
A Deer Park, Wisconsin grower, Pete Midthun, who helped the SGCA earn a world record in 2018 for the top 10 heaviest weights at any weigh-off ever, will be back again to get his listing.
And, that’s what really counts to most growers is getting that recorded weight listed on the GreatPumpkinCommonWealth (GPC’s) website, according to Midthun. He estimates this year’s pumpkin will get around 1,800 pounds, but not beat his 2091- pound weight from 2018. That year, Midthun was ranked 14th in the world, and he walked away with quite a bit of prize money-- $5,000.
According to Ailts, the event had to change its prize structure this year, because of the Coronavirus having a slight negative impact on both the SCGA and summer Tuesdays’ bottom lines.
The 2020 top winner will take home $3,750 with second at $2,250; Third $1,500; Fourth to 12th place ranging from $600 to $112.75; and 13th to 20th place from $75-$18.75.
Growers are required to pre-register online at the group’s website www.stcroixgrowers.com. They will have three chances to earn GPC listings. The first entry is free for St. Croix Growers Association members or $20 for non-members. It serves as the grower’s official entry for the Stillwater weigh-off. A second entry is free for exhibition only, and the third entry is an additional $20 for exhibition only or free in exchange for three hours of “sweat equity” or volunteer work that day. The number of entries is limited to three per grower, and growers will need to pre-measure their fruit.
In addition to the giant pumpkins, the event will have the following competing subcategories: long gourd, watermelon, tomato, field pumpkin and bushel gourd. These entries will be recognized on the GPC website, but no prize money will be awarded, according to organizers. These entries are $20, and limited to one per grower. Pre-measurement will also be needed.
The GPC is the highest-ranking authority on giant pumpkin growing, and the SCGA’s event has been GPC-sanctioned since its inception in 2006. Their website is: www.gpc1.org.
The SCGA’s members reside in the Twin Cities and its surrounding suburbs and along Western Wisconsin-- ranging from St. Croix to Polk counties to Pierce and Dunn counties. However, growers from all over the upper Midwest attend the weigh-off. For more information about the SCGA, please go to the website: www.stcroixgrowers.com or email: email@example.com.