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And, the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival Weigh-Off winner is…

…Thad Starr, 45, from Pleasant Hill, Oregon, whose 1,775-pound pale orange pumpkin is a new California record! Starr won $6/pound today, which equals $10,650! The 5-foot-tall, 4-foot-wide giant pumpkin won the 39-year Half Moon Bay traditional Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off today, and it beat 49 other entries. Pumpkins are disqualified if even a tiny crack pierces through the 1-foot-think shells. All of the pumpkins of last year’s winner, Leonardo Urena of Napa, SPLIT this year, so he did not even enter the contest!

“The entire plant is manipulated,” Starr said. “These things we’re doing make them grow sometimes 40 to 50 pounds a day. There’s lots of weeding, watering, worrying. You worry it’s gonna split, and then it’s all over.”

Starr, a stay-at-home dad, started competing in 2006 and won first place in 2007 and 2008, but this year’s entry beat the runner-up by 250 pounds! Even though Starr’s pumpkin won the festival record and the state record, it still falls short of the WORLD record that was set last week in Massachusetts for a 2,009-pound pumpkin!

So what will Starr do with the prize money? He and his son and daughter are going to Disneyland! :-) Then, they will return to Half Moon Bay for the weekend to be the superstars of the festival!

Afterwards, Starr and his family will return to Oregon, where he will prepare the soil for growing a set of new pumpkins with seeds from this year’s winner. The pumpkin itself will be a jack-o’-lantern in the family’ front yard on Halloween!

A slideshow of the pumpkin festival is in the article!

-Bill at

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