NC Commissioner Troxler: Banner Year for Giant Pumpkins, Watermelons at State Fair

I thought it would be fun to talk about the giant pumpkins and watermelons we have this year. It is an outstanding display, with the largest pumpkin ever weighed in competition at the N.C. State Fair.

The top pumpkin was 2,124 pounds and was grown by Robert Cyrus of Wayne County, West Virginia.

  • Some people don’t realize we actually have two competitions for the giants at the State Fair. We host a competition sanctioned by The Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, which is an organization that promotes giant fruits and vegetables worldwide. That contest is open to growers anywhere, not just North Carolina.
  • We also have the State Fair contest open to just North Carolina residents. So, our growers can actually enter the same pumpkin and watermelons in two contests.
  • Having the two allows us to bring in pumpkins and watermelons that may be bigger than what is being grown in the state in any given year, but it also allows our growers to compete in bigger competitions for more prize money.
  • It only raises the bar of competition but don’t worry, North Carolina growers are certainly competitive in the open contest.
  • In fact this year, the second place watermelon in the sanctioned competition was grown by Todd Dawson of Wake County and at 299.4 pounds, it came in just under 10 pounds shy of the largest watermelon grown in the world this year, which also just happens to be grown by the current world record holder. The third place in the sanctioned contest went to Hinzy Williams for his 272.7 pound watermelon.
  • Todd also placed first in the State Fair giant watermelon competition, too, and Hinzey placed second so both melons won two ribbons.
  • That is something to be proud of.
  • The winners in the State Fair giant pumpkin contest are:
  • First: Hinzy Williams of Nash County with a 1,097-pound pumpkin
    • Second: Donald Murphy of Lenoir County with a 1,028.7-pound pumpkin
    • Third: Cameron Jernigan of Wake County who earned third-place honors with an 865.3-pound pumpkin.

  • In the State Fair giant watermelon contest, the winners are:
    • First and second are: Todd Dawson and Hinzy Williams, as I mentioned.
    • Third went to Patrick Vanbeck of Wake County with a 251.8-pound watermelon.
  • We are proud of all the North Carolina winners and their success this year certainly bodes well for consumers looking for locally grown pumpkins and other seasonal décor this year.
  • I have been told there is a good crop of pumpkins this year with lots of varieties available whether your like orange, green or white pumpkins and many different sizes depending on your preference.
  • You can also find mums, gourds and bales of straw to help decorate for fall.
  • There’s still time to come to the State Fair, so if you are thinking about it, the fair runs through Sunday, Oct. 22.