, Salem, MA

Local News

October 5, 2013

A hometown winner

Topsfield grower's 1,746-pound gourd takes first at Topsfield Fair giant pumpkin weigh-off


“We’re not looking at a beauty contest, it’s all about the weight,” the night’s emcee, Goffstown, N.H., pumpkin grower Jim Beauchemin, reminded the crowd.

Last night, growers chatted and joked with each other as the pumpkins were weighed. Just after Ipswich grower Armand Michaud’s 1,313-pound pumpkin was weighed, other growers came up to him and said — only half joking — that they wanted some of his pumpkin’s seeds.

“Next year’s season started today,” Hoomis said, chuckling.

Peter DeNigris took second place with a 1,544-pound pumpkin he grew in his West Gloucester yard. He’s been growing giant pumpkins for more than 15 years and took first place at the 2011 Topsfield Fair with a 1,668-pounder.

This year’s entry was his “last chance” pumpkin, the only fruit that didn’t fail in a tough growing season. He started the seed indoors and transplanted it outside April 28, he said.

“It was a slow grower, so it teased me all summer long,” DeNigris said.

So why spend all this time and effort on growing pumpkins?

“It’s fun,” DeNigris answered, breaking into a smile.

Last night’s contest had pumpkins grown throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire.

No records were broken this year. That honor rests with Ron Wallace of Rhode Island, who brought the world’s first-ever 1 ton pumpkin — a whopping 2,009 pounds — to last year’s fair.

The 2013 Topsfield Fair runs through Columbus Day, Oct. 14. The annual fair parade through Topsfield is this morning, 9 a.m. For a full schedule, see

Bethany Bray can be reached at and on Twitter @SalemNewsBB.

2013 winners: Topsfield Fair giant pumpkin weigh-off

  • 1st place: Woody Lancaster of Topsfield; 1,746.5 pounds
  • 2nd place: Peter DeNigris of Gloucester; 1,544 pounds
  • 3rd place: Mark Breznick of Pittsford, Vt.; 1,530.5 pounds

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