Giant pumpkins draw big crowds in Stillwater, Minn.

Competitive pumpkin growers gathered at the Stillwater Harvest Fest this weekend for its popular pumpkin weigh-off.

Tanner Conway, from Austin, estimates his entry this year may be about 1,500 lbs.

But getting the huge fruit there isn’t easy. He said other drivers can get really distracted as they pass him transporting the pumpkin on the road to Stillwater.

festival continues Sunday
People wrestle with a giant pumpkin at Stillwater Harvest Fest on Saturday.
Elizabeth Nida Obert for MPR News

“I've seen people literally like just paying no attention to the road and like be grabbing their phone or, or you name it, trying to snap photos of the pumpkin on the trailer,” Conway said. “And it's almost like you feel kind of guilty because you're like, 'whoever it is drive and have your wife or you know, whoever else is in the car. Take photos, please. We don't want an accident.'"

The annual pumpkin growers gathering at Stillwater is now one of the largest festivals of its kind in the Midwest. In addition to the weigh-off, there's a pumpkin drop from a crane as well as a post-competition regatta where the pumpkins are sailed on the river.

The giant pumpkins aren’t the only produce in the spotlight. A giant tomato, grown by Julie Faust and her husband, Del Faust, of Fond du Lac, Wis., weighed 11.65 pounds, setting a world record.

Two person celebrate
Julie Faust and her husband, Del Faust, left, both of Fond du Lac, Wis. celebrate following the weigh-in of their 11.65-pound tomato Saturday at Harvest Fest in Stillwater, Minn. Their sizable vegetable was declared a world record by Pete Caspers, right, of Peosta, Iowa.
Elizabeth Nida Obert for MPR News

Photojournalist Elizabeth Nida Obert captured photos and video of the event for MPR News.

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