PHOTO: Pennsylvania Family Grows Insanely Heavy Record-Breaking Pumpkin

by Emily Morgan
photo by: Dan Kitwood / Staff

One Pennsylvania family is going to have a ton of pumpkin pies for this year’s Thanksgiving.

As it turns out, it was a record-breaking night at the 58th annual Barnesville Pumpkin Festival’s pumpkin weigh-in in Ohio. During the festival, a Pennsylvania man was recognized for having grown the heaviest gourd at the yearly festival.

While all types of gigantic squashes came to the festival from across the state, yet when it was all said and done, it was the pumpkin from Harrison City, Pennsylvania, that took home the coveted title.

According to reports, Erik Granstrom and his family’s gourd tipped the scales at a whopping 2,405 pounds. Not only did the behemoth beat the competition, but it also beat previous records. The pumpkin is now the largest winner in the festival’s history. In addition, it’s also the largest grown in the state and the largest in the world in 2022. Moreso, it would’ve been the largest in Ohio had it been grown there.

“It feels fantastic,” Gunstrom said after the win. “There’s so much work that goes into this. We’re working hard. I’m out there in a headlamp every single night. I’ve got a headlamp on out in the patch, working in the patch. It feels excellent. It feels phenomenal. It’s a labor of love.”

Pennsylvania man on prize-winning pumpkin: ‘It’s a labor of love’

As Gunstrom describes, growing the gourd was not without hard work. According to news reports, he spent a grueling 30 hours a week caring for the gourd over the past month in preparation for the festival.

As previously mentioned, Gunstrom’s pumpkin broke last year’s record, which weighed 2,195 pounds.

“It’s just something we enjoy doing as a family,” Gunstrom said proudly of his win.

In second place were Dave and Carol Stelts of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, who came in at 2,069 pounds. Third place went to Todd and Donna Skinner, whose pumpkin weighed 2,068 pounds. The couple also won the Founders Cup for having the largest locally grown gourd. In addition, all three pumpkins will remain on display throughout the festival.

According to the website, the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival first began in 1964, with the first-ever winning pumpkin weighing just 72 pounds.

According to a 2021 Guinness World Records article, the heaviest pumpkin in existence was grown by an Italian farmer named Stefano Cutrupi. He raised this pumpkin to weigh about 2,702 pounds, which is “heavier than a Nissan Micra car, or about the same was 17.5 adult men.”

“I felt incredible emotions from the moment I saw the pumpkin arrive on the truck,” told Emanuele Garofano, a judge who certified the record to Guinness. “In reality, no one really knows the weight of a pumpkin until it is certified on the scale, but seeing the size of that pumpkin and touching it. I immediately felt a shiver inside me, I knew that to be the new world record! I was convinced of it.”