Carpinteria, Calif.—Fall is in the air, even in California. Although the signs are more subtle than in other parts of the country, residents can sense it. Many days are sunny and bright, and the air is calm, almost breezeless. The ocean, with its powerful currents, remains like glass until late in the day. Of course, the days are also shorter.
For one class of gardeners, however, there is another indicator of the season: Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Contest.
Pumpkin growers throughout Southern California who have a passion for cultivating giant pumpkins not only have created a community in which they share their experiences and strategies, they also have an annual event where they can show off the best of their harvest.
This year’s Pumpkinmania! competition was held Oct. 30 at beautiful Island View Nursery in Carpinteria, six miles east of Santa Barbara.
Surrounded by lush foliage amidst the nursery that overlooks the ocean, this year's participants and onlookers could take their time to inspect the competition.
Meanwhile, Lisa Cullen, the judge for the competition who was dressed as Glinda, the Good Witch of the South from the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, surveyed the entries.
1st Place: John Sach from Whittier with “Terminator,” 1138 lbs.
2nd Place: Glenn Bassett from Simi Valley with “Charlie,” 534 lbs.
3rd Place: Manny Vasta from Carpinteria with “Manny,” 337 lbs.
Most Beautiful: “Clays Great Pumpkin,” 108.5 lbs., Clayton Heimlich (8 years old) from Hope Ranch in Santa Barbara.
Best Color: “Linus,” Grace and Mayson Gilmore (9 and 6 years old) from Orange County.
Most Unusual: “Witch Poo,” 327 lbs., Phil & Christy Concan from Garden Grove.
Heaviest Local: “Orange Supreme,” 231 lbs., Duke McPherson from Foothill, Santa Barbara.