The Cook County Farm Bureau will be hosting their 13th Annual Giant Pumpkin Contest on October 5th at Puckerville Farms in Lemont, Illinois and they’re challenging local growers to bring in their big pumpkins to compete.
The event is sponsored by the bureau’s commodities marketing team, which is made up of volunteers in different facets of agriculture. “It’s an opportunity for local growers and farm members to bring in home grown pumpkins and there are both an adult and youth division with cash prizes in both categories,” said Debbie Voltz, membership assistant.
Voltz said last year’s contest had the biggest pumpkin in the history of their contest, which weighed in at 942 pounds. “And we are hearing there may be a bigger one this year,” she said. “In the youth division, the largest we have had was about 187 pounds. That division goes up to age 16.”
Advance registration for the contest is available online at cookcfb.org by clicking on “Buy Local” and then on “Programs.” Same day registration is also available starting at 9 a.m. Adult competitors must be a member of the Cook County Bureau to enter the giant pumpkin contest and a $20 annual membership can be purchased that day. The requirement does not apply to the youth contest.
In addition to the adult and youth giant pumpkin contests, there will also be a pumpkin decorating contest for kids. Pumpkins are provided and there is no fee to participate. Voltz said that each year there is a theme, which this year will be “Farm Animals.” All decorating supplies will be provided. All participants receive a prize and a panel of judges will select winners in three age categories – under 6-years-old, ages 7 to 11 and ages 12 to 16 with movie package prizes going to the top artists.
Finally, there will also be a Pumpkin Dessert Contest with cash prizes for the top three winners. In the past the contest has been limited to pies, but this year it is open for any dessert that contains pumpkin as an ingredient – so it can be pie, cake, bread, cookies, bars or whatever you can come up with. It is open to all ages and the winner is asked to make their dessert again to donate as a silent auction item at the Cook County Farm Bureau’s annual dinner. Winners of all of the contests will also receive two tickets to the dinner, which will be held in November.
The event is open to the public and there is no admission charge to attend. Coffee and doughnuts will be available. “It’s a nice way to kick off fall and hopefully the weather is nice,” said Voltz. “But it’s on rain or shine and usually over by about 11 a.m.”