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NYBG hosts world’s largest pumpkin

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The New York Botanical Gardens is showcasing the world-record-breaking largest pumpkin in the world, as well as three runners up, through the end of October.

The top four regional pumpkins from weigh-offs across the United States and Canada, including the world’s largest pumpkin that weighs 1,818.5 pounds and was grown by Jim Bryson and his daughter Kelsey at their farm in Ormstown, Quebec, Canada, will be on display at the Garden for a limited time through Sunday, October 30.

The winning pumpkin and the three runners up were carved on Saturday, October 22 and Sunday, October 23 by Ray Villafane, and will be carved again on Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. by veteran carver Anthony Natiello in the Leon Levy Visitor Center.

Students from I.S. 318 at 1919 Prospect Avenue enjoyed viewing the Bryson pumpkin, as well as the three runners up: a 1,807.5 pound pumpkin grown by Dave and Carol Stelts of Edinburg, Pennsylvania; a pumpkin weighing 1,704 pounds grown by Leonardo Urena of Napa, California; and a 1,693 pound pumpkin grown by Brant Bordsen and Elenor Bordsen from Marysville, California.

Janell Wilson, 12, said on Thursday, October 20 that seeing the pumpkins makes her want to come back and visit the NYBG again.

“I think that this is great because we can see how people can grow huge pumpkins,” Wilson said.

Her classmate Frailyn Badia, 12, said that he could not believe that the pumpkins were real because of their sizes.

“My first reaction when I saw it was that it has to be fake because I had never seen a pumpkin this big before,” Badia stated.

Chrisjen White, 12, said that he learned some of the science behind what makes pumpkins grow to large sizes while at the NYBG.

“I learned that if you try your best you can grow pumpkins to great sizes,” he said.

For some of the growers, who may be unaccustomed to being in the spotlight, the attention surrounding their growing feats has been a whirlwind. Bryson said that this is the second year he has been growing pumpkins competitively.

“It is just an amazing feeling,” Bryson said. “My daughter and I were in Montreal getting our passports the other day, and a security guard at the airport came up to us, told us that he had seen us on the local television news the day before, and congratulated us for doing a great job.”

Some pumpkins growers are a bit more seasoned, like the Stelts who have been growing pumpkins competitively for 20 years, and have held state records for pumpkin growing in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

“We grow 1500- and 1600-pound pumpkins regularly, and this year we had a really large one,” Dave Stelts said. “These pumpkins put on about 80% of its size in just 60 days.”

Pumpkin growers are closing in on the one-ton mark, and are expected to break that threshold in upcoming years, said NYBG curator Michael Nee.

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