Alex Noel: Pumpkin breaks record and earns grower $8K

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Alex Noel: Pumpkin breaks record and earns grower $8K.

It was a two-fer for Topsfield resident Henry Swenson at the giant pumpkin weigh-in Friday, Oct. 4, at the Topsfield Fair. Not only was he able to get his own pumpkin onto the scales, but he also got to see his mentor and fellow giant-pumpkin grower Woody Lancaster place in the event.

“I feel great! It’s awesome to finally get one to the scales after three years,” Swenson said by text the following morning.

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The Masconomet student is a study in perseverance. He worked hard during the summers of 2017 and 2018 giving his giant-pumpkin patch lots of TLC, only to see his would-be contest contenders rot during the lead-up to the weigh-in. However, he was undaunted. Last year, he vowed he would come back in 2019 with an even bigger pumpkin.

Swenson said this year he ran into an issue with the vine of his pumpkin and had to harvest it a bit early. However, the pumpkin itself was fine, and with the help of Lancaster, Ipswich giant-pumpkin grower George Hoomis, and other area other area growers, he made it to the scales for the Oct. 4 contest in the arena at the Topsfield Fairgrounds.

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With family and friends watching, Swenson’s pumpkin came in at 1,138 pounds. Lancaster, who is also a Topsfield resident, took third place in the event with a pumpkin weighing at 2,116 pounds.

The top two spots this year went to Connecticut residents. Alex Noel’s pumpkin came in at 2,294.5 pounds to take first place. Gary Vincent’s weighed in at 2,169.5 pounds to clinch second place.

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It was no small feat getting Swenson’s giant pumpkin from the field to the scale. It required heavy equipment to lift it and a flat-bed to transport it. The contest, itself, took hours to complete, with each pumpkin being lifted, placed on the scale, weighed and then taken off the scale.

Swenson said that soon he will start planning for the 2020 contest.

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