TOPSFIELD — The All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off at the Topsfield Fair will forever be known as the contest where the world’s first one-ton pumpkin was weighed, as Ron Wallace of Greene, R.I., shattered a world record set at a fair in Deerfield, N.H., just 24 hours before.
Wallace’s pumpkin managed to beat back a challenge from one grown in Topsfield by Woodrow “Woody” Lancaster, whose personal best of 1,649 pounds held the top spot for all of five minutes before Wallace’s pumpkin was lifted by a forklift onto the scale.
“If you are going to get beat,” Lancaster said, “get beat big.”
“It took six years to get back, but I’m back, baby,” yelled Wallace, pumping his fist with his thumb out as he stood atop the pallet that contained his 2,009 pounder.
A throng of press and spectators gathered around as Wallace celebrated at the end of Friday night’s weigh-off. All night, people posed with the behemoth that sat at the far end of the fairground’s arena, with members of the New England Pumpkin Growers Association and others saying measurements were off the charts and foretold this could be the big one.
“It’s a great world record,” said the general manager of America’s oldest agricultural fair, James O’Brien. “Topsfield has had a lot of world records, but this one is special. This is absolutely one of the top sites in the country where you can come and weigh-off a pumpkin.” There have been seven world record giant pumpkins weighed at Topsfield in the last 15 years, O’Brien said.
Before his pumpkin was weighed, Wallace said his chances were good, and he was not nervous about it weighing a ton.
“By the measurements, it has a chance, but there is not much information on pumpkins this big, so who knows what it weighs, so,” Wallace said. Wallace had an inkling by the middle of August he had grown something special.