Giant veggies capture blue ribbons at this year’s State Fair
At this year’s State Fair of Virginia, it wasn’t just giant pumpkin and watermelons varieties that won accolades.
Blue ribbons were awarded for an extra-large bushel gourd, a hefty long gourd, a giant field pumpkin and an oversize tomato.
“We wanted to give more growers the opportunity to compete with other types of vegetables,” said Stuart Sanders, the fair’s assistant executive director. “People enjoy seeing the giant pumpkins and watermelons so much that we wanted to give them even more incredible produce to view.”
All the winners are displayed in the horticulture tent in the fair’s Harvest Landing area. This year’s fair will run through Oct. 6 at The Meadow Event Park.
This year’s giant pumpkin winner weighed 1,056 pounds and was grown by Bradley Orndorff of Shenandoah County. The State Fair giant pumpkin record is 1,340.7 pounds, set by Hank Houston of Spotsylvania County in 2015.
The winning giant watermelon weighed 209.5 pounds and was grown by Luke Williams of King and Queen County. The 2018 winning watermelon set a State Fair record. It weighed 254 pounds and was grown by Houston.
The previous record was 246 pounds, set by Davis Wells of Hanover County in 2016.
In this year’s new categories, Dustin Price of Henrico County set a new state record for a giant bushel gourd. His entry weighed 344 pounds.
According to the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, which provides official weights for giant vegetable competitions, the U.S. record was set in 2017 with a 268-pound bushel gourd.
The State Fair’s largest long gourd weighed 72.5 pounds and was grown by Orndorff, the giant pumpkin winner.
The giant tomato weighed in at 1 pound, 4.7 ounces and was grown by Bruce Lynch of Louisa County. The blue ribbon for largest field pumpkin was awarded to Wells, the former giant watermelon recordholder.