Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 2013 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Results!

Michelle Shim, 4, Chief Rascal, poses with 'Big Mama'

Chris Dunn, Pumpkinmania Crew, Giant Pumpkin Grower, and first contestant to arrive!

 The initial ninety minutes of this year's contest was marked by deep anxiety and dark foreboding.

Mike Gray, and his entry

Then, the entries began to arrive!

 Vince George waits patiently for the Pumpkinmania crew to unload his entry

Mark Imhoof, Chief Engineer becomes one with Chris Dunn's entry, Big Mama

Ty Hall, of Kellogg Garden Products 
prevents yet another Pumpkinmania near tragedy through sheer brute strength!

Glenn Tanaka, owner of Tanaka Farms graciously performed the fork-lift operating duties

Ty Hall and Casey Shim steady an entry before it's lowered into place.

 In a Pumpkinmania! first, all of the top 4 finshers weighed over 900 pounds!

KABC TV Channel 7 was on hand to cover the contest

Finian McManus, Lake Forest, CA, 13th place, 5 pounds

Joshua Fredricks, Santee, CA, 12th place, 80.50 pounds

Judi Volpe, Laguna Hills, CA, 11th place, 112 pounds

Robert Bemmer, Placentia, CA, 10th place, 114.50 pounds

John Allen, Corona, CA, 9th place, 152.50 pounds

Mae Powell, Pasadena, CA, 8th place, 159 pounds

 Mike & Susan Gray, Baldwin Park, CA, 7th place, 243.50 pounds

Kingston Dunn, Lomita, CA, 6th place, 260 pounds

 Erik Reyes, Whittier, CA, 5th place, 264 pounds

Vince George, Santee, CA, 4th place, 912 pounds

John Sach, Whittier, CA, 3rd place, 959 pounds

Jim Fredricks, Santee, CA, 2nd place, 1,030.5 pounds

Chris Dunn, Lomita, CA, 1st place, 1,063 pounds

The 2013 Pumpkinmania
Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Champion 
is Chris Dunn, Lomita, CA, 1,063 Pounds!

 Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Last Sunday morning, was overcast, cool, with very little breeze during the set-up of this year's contest. The first 90 minutes of the event was filled with anxiety and dread. At 9:30 a.m. only one entry had arrived, and it was from Chris Dunn, one of this year's Pumpkinmania crew members. The outlook was grim.

Fortunately, entries began arriving by truck, trailer, and truck and trailer, and it was event on!

With Glenn Tanaka, owner of Tanaka Farms, this year's venue, at the (fork-lift) wheel, all of the entries were ready and in place before journalists from The Orange County Register, The Daily Titan of California State University, Fullerton, and KABC TV Channel 7 arrived.

Here's the link to The Daily Titan's article published October 31, 2013:

After the weigh-off concluded, and the prizes awarded in all categories, Ken Tanaka, hurled an 80 pound pumpkin from an elevated platform in honor of Chris Dunn and all of the pumpkin growers. It landed with a very meaty and satisfying "WHUMP!" and the crowd went wild!

The top four finishers were:

First place, $1,000.00, Chris Dunn, Lomita, CA, 1,063 pounds

Second place, $500.00, Jim Fredricks, Santee, CA, 1,030.50 pounds

Third place, $300.00, John Sach, Whittier, CA, 959 pounds

Fourth place, Just out of the money, Vince George, Santee, CA 912 pounds

Growers were presented with their prizes by Ty Hall, Regional Sales Manager, Kellogg Garden Products

The winners of the non-heaviest prize categories were:

Best Color, "Chuck Kelley", Judi Volpe, Laguna Hills, CA

Funniest Shape, "Sarah", Jim Fredricks, Santee, CA

Ugliest Pumpkin, "Lola", John Sach, Whittier, CA

Youngest Grower, "The King", Kingston Dunn, Lomita, CA

Most Experienced Grower, Mae Powell (94 this year! You go girl!)

First Grower to Register, Chris Dunn, Lomita, CA (It pays to be early!)

These winners each received a $25.00 gift certificate from Batavia Gardens, Orange, CA, Orange County Farm Supply, Orange, CA, and new to Pumpkinmania!, or Sheridan Gardens, Burbank, CA.

All participants received an 8 ounce jar of GreenCure fungicide and a Gardner & Bloome cap.

The Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest ownership, management, and staff would like to recognize the following sponsors and individuals for their participation, time, effort, and understanding:

Kellogg Garden Products
Gardner & Bloome
Tanaka Farms
Roadkyll Apparel Graphics
Neptune's Harvest Organic Fertilizers
GreenCure Organic Fungicide Products
Batavia Gardens
Orange County Farm Supply
Sheridan Gardens
University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners
Glenn Tanaka
Ken Tanaka
Jolene Backman
Ty Hall
Phil Concan
Mark Imhoof
Chris Dunn
Casey N.E. Shim
Lauren Shim
Casey T. Shim
Michelle Shim, for being such a good girl, and listening to mom and dad.

Naturally hearty thanks to all of the growers for entering the contest and the many people who came out to cheer and encourage them!

Friday, October 25, 2013

The 2013 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Event Details and Rules

John Sach, of Whittier, CA and 2012 Pumpkinmania Champion!

The 2013 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest is this Sunday, October 27th!

Hello, Pumpkinistas!

This year's competition is this Sunday!

The weigh-off will be held this Sunday, October 27th, from 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Registration will be held from 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., with the weigh-off beginning at 11:30 a.m.. We'll be near the Pumpkin Patch area at Tanaka Farms, in Irvine. The weather should be perfect, sunny, with temperatures in the upper 70s, and a 4 mph breeze!

Join giant pumpkin and pumpkin growers from all over California and beyond, competing for $1,800 in prize money sponsored by Gardner & Bloome and Kellogg Garden Products, glory, honor, and giant pumpkin cultivation immortality! The First Place prize for Biggest/Heaviest Pumpkin is $1,000.00 followed by $500.00 and $300.00 for the second and third place finishers respectively. 

Here's a picture of one of this year's potential winners!

Photo by Chris Dunn
A 2013 Pumpkinmania Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest entry in repose...

Here's how one of this year's entries, grown by Mike and Susan Gray (Top three finishers in 2012), have managed to get their pumpkin moved from their backyard to their driveway for this Sunday's competition. It normally takes 1-2 days! :

Photo by Mike Gray

Photo by Mike Gray

Photo by Mike Gray

Additional categories will include: Best Color, Funniest Shape, Unluckiest Pumpkin Grower, Most Experienced Grower, Youngest Grower and potentially more.


Tanaka Farms, is located at 5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92618, their website address is:, contact telephone number is (949) 653-2100. Head west and it's minutes away from the San Diego Freeway (405) and the University Drive/Jeffrey exit. Turn left at the Strawberry Farms/Michelson signal, and the Tanaka Farms Pumpkin Patch parking will be the next left. Follow the signs to the entry unloading and contest area.

Note: Additional prizes may be awarded to growers in the order they register their entries. Growers registering their entries earlier will be given priority over growers registering their entries later.

Companies sponsoring this year's prizes include Neptune's Harvest Liquid Organic Fertilizers,, GreenCure Organic Fungicides,, Hydrofarm,, Roadkyll Apparel Graphics, (714) 560-0005, Sheridan Gardens, Batavia Gardens Nursery,  Orange County Farm Supply, and more!

The always popular, limited-editon, highly collectible and cherished Pumpkinmania! T-shirt will be available for $10.00

Image from

The winner and his or her pumpkin, will be feted with the firing of Tanaka Farm's pumpkin cannon! It simply does not get any better than this: (Last year, pumpkins were hurled off an elevated platform too!)

(I suggest bringing a hat, sunscreen, and wearing a long-sleeve shirt. Just in case we have an unexpectedly large entry, please bring some gloves. We may need you!)

See you Sunday!

Here are the rules:

Contest Rules & Regulations

1. This is an open competition to all growers in any part of the world.

2. The pumpkin must be grown by the grower and in the country where the grower resides.

3. A grower may enter only one pumpkin, and no family may enter more than two entries.

4. Entries will be received between 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m. on the day of competition.

5. Entries must be sound, healthy, and undamaged. This means free of rot, holes or cracks through to the seed cavity, chemical residue, soil should be wiped off, and no soft spots.

6. No foreign material is to be included in the weighing. Vine must be trimmed within 1.0” from the stem of the fruit. Judges reserve the right to fully inspect each pumpkin before the weight is announced and official. Refusal to allow inspection of a pumpkin will result in its disqualification and a potential ban for life from future Pumpkinmania! competitions.

7. Any pumpkin previously entered in or weighed at any other competition prior to the contest will be deemed ineligible.

8. In the event of a tie, prize(s) will be combined and split equally among entrants.

9. Decision of the judges will be final in all cases.

10. Contest sponsors and staff shall not be liable for compensation for loss, damage, and/or death to any pumpkins, contestants, their families and friends, or personal property. All entrants completely and totally indemnify the sponsors and organizers of the weigh-off and contest.

Additional details: 

Please visit,, or e-mail: and, media inquiries please call: (949) 683-5932.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

A Strong Finish for the Grays!

Good afternoon, Pumpkinistas!

Here's the latest from the Grays:

"Hi Stuart, Sorry it took so long to send our update computer problems again . Pumpkin is still  hanging in there. Was glad to see your  pumpkin. At least the weather is better!  Until next  time, Mike and Susan"

Looks like a contender to me! With its bright orange color, the Grays may have to be considered for another category.