Front photo provided. Gallery photo shows the main pumpkin patch this week at Sunnyside Gardens. Photo by Larry Goodwin.
SARATOGA SPRINGS – “You just can’t imagine how big they are until you see it.”
That is how Ned Chapman, the longtime owner of Sunnyside Gardens, described the oversized pumpkins that will be delivered to his property later this week from farms across New York and even from neighboring states.
On Wednesday, Chapman was all smiles in anticipation of hosting his second annual Saratoga Giant PumpkinFest, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday.
Chapman explained that an acquaintance had encouraged him to host the 2016 pumpkin festival after a similar event was canceled previously in Cooperstown. He was not expecting such a large turnout of pumpkin fans.
“I had no idea what we were getting into,” Chapman said. “We were hoping for 1,000 and 6,000 showed up.”
Last year’s giant pumpkins were grown in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont and elsewhere. When asked how farmers manage to grow them so large, Chapman joked that their methods are “top secret.”
This year, Chapman said he is expecting more than 50 giant pumpkin growers to submit entries for the contest, which offers several thousand dollars in prizes for the winners as judged by pumpkin weight. The largest three entries may be close to 2,000 pounds.
The event at Sunnyside Gardens has been organized both years through the efforts of Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce President Todd Shimkus.
“He’s working hard on it,” Chapman said.
Other sponsors of the Saratoga PumpkinFest include the Adirondack Trust Company, Stewart’s Shops, Saratoga Honda, Dunkin’ Donuts, Farm Easy Credit, Shelby’s Four Corner Diner, Wallace Organic Wonder, Farm Family, Roohan Realty and more.
Visitors also will be able to enjoy hayrides, cider doughnuts and pumpkin ice cream courtesy of Stewart’s, according to a statement released for the Sept. 23 event.
For more information, visit the website www.saratogagiantpumpkinfest.com.