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Very big, if not beautiful

Pumpkin tops a state record

A giant pumpkin sat next to one of more typical size yesterday during the giant pumpkin weigh-off at the Topsfield Fair. A giant pumpkin sat next to one of more typical size yesterday during the giant pumpkin weigh-off at the Topsfield Fair. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Amanda Cedrone and Derek Anderson
Globe Correspondents / October 1, 2011

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Got gourds?

With a whopping 1,668.5 pound goliath of a pumpkin, Peter DeNigris of Gloucester and Carl Moore of Manchester-by-the-Sea have taken first place in the 193d annual Topfield Fair’s kickoff pumpkin-weighing event.

Growers from near and far headed to the fairgrounds yesterday afternoon hoping to win the contest and maybe break the world record for the heaviest pumpkin.

With results rolling in around 8:30 last night, the first place for heaviest pumpkin went to DeNigris and Moore, according to Ann Savage, executive secretary of the Topsfield Fair. Their pumpkin was a new Massachusetts state record, but did not match the world record or the New England record.

Second place at the fair this year was claimed by Bruce Whittier of Henniker, N.H., with a pumpkin weighing in at 1,593 pounds, Savage said. The giant also set a record for the state of New Hampshire.

Third place was won by Bob and Christine Duffy of Massachusetts, with a gourd weighing 1,513 pounds, she said.

The winner of the contest received a $3,000 prize. DeNigris and Moore’s pumpkin also won the ugliest pumpkin contest, said Savage, which got them an additional $100.

Prize money is also given for second- through 10th-heaviest, as well as the prettiest pumpkins.

The fair is the official weigh-off site for the New England Pumpkin Growers Association. The pumpkin-weighing event has received worldwide recognition and has become so popular that a cutoff weight of 350 pounds had to be instituted for a pumpkin to be considered.

The last time a pumpkin broke a world record at the fair was in 2007, when one of the gigantic orange vegetables grown in Rhode Island weighed 1,689 pounds, said David Thomson, a spokesman for the fair.

That pumpkin still holds the record for New England, but the world record was surpassed in 2010 by a man in Wisconsin with a pumpkin weighing 1,810 pounds.

Ideal pumpkin growing conditions include a lot of sunlight and temperatures under 90 degrees, said Mary Ann Hoomis, who cochairs the contest with her husband, George.