SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

October 3, 2013

Fair play

195th Topsfield Fair opens Friday with animals, food, music & rides

Interest in the Topsfield Fair’s Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off gets bigger every year, just like the pumpkins in the competition.

Visitors can check out this year’s batch of orange monsters at 1 p.m. tomorrow, when they are lowered onto scales in the arena, kicking off 10 days of agricultural exhibits, contests and activities.

George Hoomis, director of the New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Association and chairman of the weigh-off, remembers when people wondered if pumpkins would ever reach 1,000 pounds.

“We figured it would take a few years,” he said.

Last year, Ron Wallace of Green, R.I., set a world record at 2009 pounds and won a $10,000 prize for growing the first pumpkin ever to exceed 1 ton, but it took less than a year for his entry to be topped.

“There’s a guy in Europe who grew a 2,360-something-pound pumpkin off the 2009 seed,” Hoomis said.

It didn’t set a new record, however, because it had a hole in it.

“It has to be sound, a sound fruit,” Hoomis said.

Pumpkins keep getting bigger because growers develop new breeds, using seeds from previous winners, and cross-pollinating early each spring. But genetics alone don’t create big pumpkins, which often require determined growers to get them through rough weather.

“I know one year there was so much rain, people’s pumpkins were going down, the plants were dying,” Hoomis said. “One guy dug a hole next to his plant and put a sump pump in it and kept it going. People do what they have to do.”

As the pumpkins get bigger, the fair — now in its 195th year — gets older and continues to draw huge crowds.

Music, old & new

One secret to this longevity is the fair’s combination of carefully cultivated traditions mixed with new attractions.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Lifestyle
  • misselwood_2 Rare, classic cars make an appearance at annual Endicott College show

    The original Concours d'Elegance was a fashion show on wheels. "It did start in 17th century France, where some of the aristocracy wanted to show off the fashions they were wearing," said Patrick Cornellison, chairman of the event. "Mainly women woul

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • twenties_3 Ipswich's Castle Hill braces for 1,000 at Roaring '20s Lawn Party

    The latest dance craze started in the 1930s. The Lindy Hop, which first flourished in the ballrooms of Harlem, is expected to draw hundreds of people to a dance floor at the Crane Estate this Sunday. Organized by Boston Swing Central, a dance club in

    July 24, 2014 4 Photos

  • kallyson North Shore entertainment calendar Good cause YARD SALE TO BENEFIT JIMMY FUND. Saturday, July 26, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 11 Anna Drive, Danvers. Family yard sale with all proceeds benefiting the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk. WOOSHIE'S WARRIORS FUNDRAISER FOR MS. Sunday, July 27, 10 a.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • The reader's eye Name: Erika Torkildsen Hometown: Beverly Description: "I took this at the Salem Common around a park where I noticed a ripped basketball net amid the blue sky. Instead of taking the picture from my original view, I tipped the camera up from under the

    July 24, 2014

  • shakespeare Good cause The Bard comes alive on Misery Island Join Sea Station for its inaugural performance of "The Tempest Trials," a Shakespearean festival on Salem's Misery Island, on Saturday from noon to 4:15 p.m. The festival features actors of all ages participating

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Horoscope Leo (July 23-Aug. 22) -- Your goals and current lifestyle need a little adjustment. Be receptive to new ideas, and make a change if you want to feel better about the direction you are heading in. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) -- Your leadership qualities

    July 24, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Girl and cousin both need counseling after assault Dear Abby: My granddaughter "Cindy," age 2, was being watched by her mommy's ex-sister-in-law and her sons. Cindy went to her mommy and said, "Bubby hurt me." Bubby is what she calls her 10-year-old cousin. Her mother called the police. A policeman s

    July 23, 2014

  • Wednesday's Best Bets Best Bets for Wednesday, July 23

    Looking for something to do today? Here are The Salem News' Best Bets:

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dear Abby: Younger couples weigh in on how they handle money Dear Readers: On April 11, I printed a letter from "Wondering in Washington," a man asking why young men in general today have the attitude that "any money I earn is mine" in a marriage or live-in situation. He said when he married, he and his wife c

    July 22, 2014

  • Dear Abby: Dating scene is frustrating for strong young woman Dear Abby: I am a young woman hoping to find "The One." But I have come to realize that I'm not the normal female. I don't get manicures or go shopping. (I hate shopping!) When I meet a guy, he likes that I'm "me," but if we get serious, then I'm eit

    July 21, 2014

NDN Video
Comments Tracker