Ridgefield’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off promises to be ‘bigger and better’ for 10th annual event

RIDGEFIELD — With organizers promising it will be “bigger and better than ever,” the Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club is preparing for the 10th annual Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off event in Ridgefield.

Free and open to the public, this year’s event will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 25 at Ballard Park at 485 Main St.

“Seeing a giant pumpkin or a whole bunch of giant pumpkins in one setting, that’s what makes it attractive to come out and see it,” said Steven Maydan, president of the Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club and co-chair of the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

The club’s membership is made up of growers who took part in the previous year’s weigh-off, Maydan said, adding that last year’s event had about a dozen participants. In addition to those 12 growers, he said there’s about five or six active members who take part in the club’s fundraising and other activities, including running the weigh-off event.

The club’s mission is “to support the growers that are involved, share information, recruit new growers and get other people involved in growing giant pumpkins as well as supporting our weigh-off,” Maydan said.

The weigh-off started as a small event, hosted in local town with pumpkins and a scale in parking lot, said Jess Collins, co-chair of the weigh-off and a member of the growers club.

She and Maydan thought it could be a bigger family event, and they decided to bring the weigh-off to Ridgefield 10 years ago in the hopes of making it into a festival.

“The pumpkins are so beautiful, we wanted everybody to see them,” Collins said.

The event also offers other activities that helped turned the weigh-off into a full festival, including farm animals, farm stands, vendors, children’s activities and musical performances, Collins said.

There will also be a a pumpkin-decorating contest, Maydan said, with participants invited to decorate small pumpkins and bring them to the weigh-off. The Connecticut Giant Pumpkin Growers Club will display a selection of the best decorated pumpkins and prizes will be awarded.

The big draw at the show is the giant pumpkins,Maydan said, “and then we build upon that to help our vendors. Most of our vendors are Ridgefield town businesses and we want to support them. It’s kind of a win-win-win not only for our club, but also for the businesses and the people of Ridgefield and the surrounding areas.”

As for the pumpkins, there is no minimum weight to compete, Maydan said. There are different types of giant pumpkins, but most, if not all, of the growers will use a seed variety called the Atlantic Giant, he said.

“We leave it up to the grower whether they decide they’ve got something big enough to bring to an event like this and show it off and get it weighed,” Maydan said.

“And while the experienced growers bring giant pumpkins, we’ve had new growers who show up with their first attempt at growing a giant pumpkin, which might weigh 400 or 500 pounds,” Collins said. “Every pumpkin is amazing in its own way and each grower is celebrating their own success.”

After making the event bigger than last year with more vendors and exhibitors, Collins and Maydan said they expect this year’s weigh-off will bring in more pumpkins and draw a good crowd.

To participate in this year’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off, complete the Ridgefield Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off Vendor, Exhibitor & Sponsor Interest Form.