ELK GROVE (CBS13) – Some of the biggest pumpkins in the world weighed in at the Giant Pumpkin Festival in Elk Grove this weekend, but you won’t see nearly as many as in years past.
The state’s historic drought has changed the competition.
“There’s nothing that grows like a pumpkin. Face it, there’s nothing that grows 50 pounds a day,” Cindi Glaser said.
Cindi and her husband grow pumpkins. They find them fascinating.
“You know, they start from a seed, they go to a little dinky plant. The next thing you know, it’s taking up a 50×50 area in your front yard,” Cindi said.
But these giant pumpkins aren’t as easy to grow anymore. With the drought lingering in California, the Glasers – like many others – have had to be careful about water usage.
“We used more compost on top of our soil to try and hold moisture in. We changed our misters — dropped height from six feet to four so there wouldn’t be that much evaporation,” Cindi said.
They’ve actually taken it to the next level, sacrificing their lawn so their pumpkins could thrive.
“We removed our front yard and put in fake grass,” Cindi said. “We have moved four or five times across the country looking for the perfect spot for growing pumpkins.”
The Giant Pumpkin Festival in Elk Grove is seeing the growers struggle.
“Usually we have right around a hundred pumpkins and this year we’re looking at about 35,” said Jenn Taylor, the festival’s director.
The big pumpkin weigh-off is much smaller this year.
“It is sad because it’s their love and their passion. We have very passionate growers,” Taylor said.
For a lot of the growers, it’s more than a hobby – it’s a second job that often has a payout.
“We actually offer $6 a pound for the pumpkin and there’s prizes awards all over the country. And if you break world records, there’s awards everywhere,” Taylor said.
The Glasers hope next season will be easier
“We’ll keep on trying,” Cindi said.
The California state record was set at last year’s pumpkin festival with a 1,874.5 pound pumpkin from Napa. This year’s winning pumpkin broke that record weighing in at 1,928 pounds.