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What's next for the world-champ pumpkin? A parade, pics and a record-setting makeover

Travis Gienger, right, from Anoka, Minn., watches as his winning pumpkin is lifted and weighed Monday at the 49th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif.
Haven Daley
Travis Gienger, right, from Anoka, Minn., watches as his winning pumpkin is lifted and weighed Monday at the 49th World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

The Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off declared Travis Gienger's pumpkin the winner on Monday, weighing in at 2,560 pounds. But what happens to the 30 giant contestants, averaging around 1,000 pounds each, now that the competition is over?

The top four pumpkins, each over 1,500 pounds, will be on display at the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival this weekend in Half Moon Bay, Calif., 30 miles south of San Francisco. Gienger's winning pumpkin will also be in a parade and photo booth so people can take pictures with the 2,560-pound gourd.

The pumpkins remain the property of the grower, so each grower will decide what to do with their pumpkin after the weigh-off, Tim Beeman, a spokesman for the competition, told NPR. Some growers also carve their pumpkins in time for the Halloween season.

Though Gienger did not break a Guinness World Record at the weigh-off this year, he plans to break his own Guinness World Record for heaviest jack-o'-lantern, or carved pumpkin, using his winning 2,560-pound pumpkin, Beeman said. He set the standing world record for heaviest jack-o-lantern in 2020 with his 2,350-pound pumpkin that won the weigh-off that year.

Other growers sell their pumpkin to businesses like hotels and bars, while many others trade and sell the seeds of their pumpkin. The giant pumpkins can't be used to make pies, soups or any other foods,. Beeman said, the thicker, heavier skins of these pumpkins are not conducive for cooking.

"A lot of the growers share seeds and sell seeds, so of course, the seeds from the biggest pumpkin like Travis [Gienger]'s pumpkin are going to be in tremendous demand," he said.

Gienger bought the seed that grew his earlier prize-winning 2020 pumpkin for $80, and sells single seeds from it for $175, according to World Class Gardening. The giants produce about 800 seeds each, according to the New York Botanical Garden.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ashley Ahn
Ashley Ahn is an intern for the Digital News and Graphics desks. She previously covered the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for CNN's health and medical unit and the trial of Ahmaud Arbery's killers for CNN's Atlanta News Bureau. She also wrote pieces for USA TODAY and served as the Executive Editor of her college's student newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian. Recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Ahn is pursuing a master's degree in computer science at Columbia University.

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