Monday, September 05, 2016

The Great Pumkpin Weigh-Off at the Irvine Park Ralroad!

Join us on Saturday, September 24th to see if the local pumpkin growers have what it takes to win a prize for growing the biggest pumpkin. Cash prizes will be awarded.
On this day only, we’ll have a live band and a lot of giant pumpkins. All Pumpkin Patch activities will be open and can be enjoyed by all visitors.
Date: Saturday, September 24, 2016
Time: 11:00 am – 1:00 pm
1st Place: $2,500.00
2nd Place: $1,000.00
3rd Place: $500.00
4th Place: $300.00
5th Place: $100.00
Prettiest Pumpkin: $100.00 Gift Card
Ugliest Pumpkin: $100.00 Gift Card
Youngest Grower: $100.00 Gift Card
Oldest Grower: $100.00 Gift Card
  • The top 5 pumpkins must remain at Irvine Park Railroad through Monday, September 26th to be part of a special display. At the conclusion of the event, growers may collect their pumpkins and seeds.
  • Pumpkins must be grown, cared for, and entered by the weigh-off contestant.
  • Each contestant is limited to one entry.
  • In the event of a tie, prize money will be distributed equally among the tied parties.
  • Decisions of the judges are final in all cases.
Growers are responsible for bringing their entries to the weigh-off by 8:00 am. Weigh-off staff will move pumpkins by forklift. All entries will be handled with care.
Pre-registration is due by September 17th. Please pre-register so we have an accurate count of entries. Your cooperation will help us run a well-organized event.

For additional information and to pre-register:

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

Although the Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest will not be held this year, I am happy to help promote The Great Pumpkin Weigh-off at the Irvine Park Railroad! I hope that you will help support this "great" effort and participate!

Good luck!

Monday, November 02, 2015

The 2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Results!

The weigh-off location was very easy to find!

Some of the entries of Tanaka Farms' scarecrow contest

Pumpkins started arriving before 8:00

Glenn Tanaka and Mark Imhoof unload an entry

Mae Powell tries to convince the media that this is her pumpkin

Michelle Shim, Chief Assistant, takes a break from the registration desk.

Joseph Schafer aka "Ichyel", Anaheim, CA, 19 pounds

Mae Powell, Pasadena, CA, 118.5 pounds

Laura Imhoof, Irvine, CA, 119 pounds

Mark Imhoof, Irvine, CA, 129.5 pounds

Carol Donahue, Mission Viejo,CA, 387 pounds

Kristi Brinkley, Fullerton, CA, 415 pounds

John Mahoney, Irvine, CA, 434.50 pounds
(Grower with Most Exposed Biceps Award)

Michael Moeller, Santee, CA, 459 pounds

Tom Rogers, Irvine, CA, 534 pounds

Mike Samuels, Yorba Linda, CA, 568 pounds

Pat Mahoney, Anaheim, CA, 596 pounds

Kevin Donahue, Mission Viejo, CA,708 pounds

Vince George, Santee, CA, 857.50 pounds

 Chris Dunn, Torrance, CA, 867 pounds

 Carol Donahue, Best Color, $25 Gift Certificate, Batavia Garden, Orange, CA

 Laura Imhoof, Funniest Shape, $25 Gift Certificate, Batavia Garden, Orange, CA

 Mark Imhoof, Ugliest Pumpkin, $25 Gift Certificate, Blue Hills Nursery, Whittier, CA

 Michael Moeller, Youngest Grower, Heated Seedling Mat, Hydrofarm

Mae Powell, 96, Most Experienced Grower, Heated Seedling Mat, Hydrofarm

 Kevin Donahue, Third Place, presented $300 by Ty Hall, Kellogg Garden Products

Vince George, Second Place, presented $500 by a very enthusiastic Ty Hall, Kellogg Garden Products

Chris Dunn, First Place, presented $1,000 by Ty Hall, Kellogg Garden Products

Chris Dunn, Lord of the Gourd, 2015
Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off
& Contest Winner, 867 pounds!

On a cool and cloudy Sunday morning, at Tanaka Farms, Irvine, CA, Chris Dunn, of Torrance, CA, emerged victorious, in what might be the most highly contested competition in recent memory, with a 867 pound effort!

Many of the pumpkins appeared nearly identical in shape and size. This made weighing them from "smallest to largest" very challenging this year. It wasn't until the final entry was weighed, second place finisher, Vince George, with a 857.5 pounder, that competion officials were able to declare a clear winner. Still, less than 10 pounds separated first from second place, a new competition record! This season's unusually hot weather took its toll on perennial Pumpkinmania! contestants, including Mike and Susan Gray and growers who were in attendance. These growers included Jim Fredricks, 2014 Pumpkinmania! champion.

All contestants received 2016 calendars and pen-styluses courtesy of Beaver Plastics.

Local and regional media coverage was provided by Susan Hoffman of the Los Angeles Times/The Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, CA (Please note there is a gallery with additional photos that are part of the article.) : 
National and international coverage was provided by Jeff Shu of the Voice of America, Washington DC. Here's a link to Jeff's feature video feature and photo gallery: photo gallery:

The host and organizer would like to thank and recognize the following organizations and individuals for their sponsorship, support, help, and participation:

Kellogg Garden Products, Ty Hall 
Tanaka Farms, Glenn and Ken Tanaka, management and staff 
Batavia Garden, Orange, CA
Blue Hills Nursery, Whittier, CA
Beaver Plastics, Paul O'Neill
University of California, Master Gardeners, Orange County
U-Haul International 
Neptune's Harvest Organic Fertilizers
GreenCure Organic Fungicide Products
Roadkyll Graphics, Phil Concan
Mark & Laura Imhoof
Kevin Donahue
Chris Dunn
Lauren Shim
Michelle Shim

Thank you very much!

Friday, October 23, 2015

2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off & Contest Announcement

The 2015 Pumpkinmania! Giant Pumpkin 
Weigh-off & Contest

This Sunday, October 25, 2016, 8:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.

Tanaka Farms
5380 University Drive, Irvine, CA 92612, 
please visit: for directions/details
(Note, there is a $2.00 admission fee 
to enjoy Tanaka Farms, a bargain at twice the price.)

Registration: 8:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m.
The final weigh-off will begin at 11:30 a.m.

Contestants will be competing for $1,800.00 in cash and prizes!

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.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Mike and Susan Gray's 2015 Season!

Mike and Susan Gray's 2015 Season!

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

I am very happy to let you know that Mike and Susan Gray, veteran giant pumpkin growers and fierce Pumpkinmania! competitors have started their patch!

I am impressed!

June 11, 2015

July 1, 2015

Good morning, Pumpkinistas!

The report from Mike and Susan: This week's pictures show the plants are on their  way. Mike has been busy digging trenches for the watering  tubes. He calls the system " THE DROUGHT BUSTER". Hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July. 

Until next time, Mike and Susan