Pumpkin Festival returns for 11th year

NORWICH – The world record for largest pumpkin stands at 1,725 pounds; a 1,089-pounder will be on display Saturday at the 11th Annual Norwich Pumpkin Festival.

Standing about waist high on a 6-foot-tall person, the giant pumpkin was grown by Matt VerSchneider, a resident of Freeville in Tompkins County. It recently took second place at the Great CNY Pumpkin Festival in Oswego. He’ll also be displaying two others – they weigh in at 900.5 and 612 pounds.



“My brother and dad saw the first pumpkin that broke the world record back in 1996,” said VerSchneider, referring to then record holder’s Nathan Zehr of Lowville, the first person to break the 1,000 pound mark. “That was my original inspiration. I thought if they could do it, then I can do it.”

The Pumpkin Festival, held in the city’s East and West parks, begins at noon Friday and runs until Saturday night.

Organizers have brought in roughly 1,000 pumpkins to be carved and lit. They’re also encouraging members of the community to bring their own. Carving stations will be available for large groups.

“It’s a nice festival for all ages,” said longtime volunteer and Entertainment Coordinator Marilyn Oliver. “It’s a free, fun, family event. And it’s great to see kids bring in pumpkins and be a part of it.”


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