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Local News -

September 29, 2008

Area couple win pumpkin prize

A Walton couple won the grandprize at PumpkinFest in Cooperstown held over the weekend.

The monster pumpkin grown by Randy and Deb Sundstrom weighed in at 1,248 pounds, according to organizer Angela Chadwell.

The weigh-in for pumpkins and other vegetables was held Saturday.

The festival culminated Sunday with a regatta of hollowed-out pumpkins in Otsego Lake.

Rain on Sunday held off long enough for the regatta, said organizer Elise Schiellack of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce.

"It was a lot of fun," Schiellack said.

The Sundstroms, who came in second place last year, won the $4,000 prize for the largest pumpkin.

Pumpkin weights were down from last year when a 1,376-pound pumpkin won first prize.

The growers told organizers that it wasn't a very good year for growing giant pumpkins, Chadwell said.

But a Buffalo-area man made out well with his giant squash.

Karl Haist of Clarence Center set a national record with a squash weighing 1,177 pounds, Chadwell said.

He took home a $250 prize.

The largest pumpkin grown in Otsego County was a 573.5 pounder submitted by Brendan Lohan of Cooperstown. He won a $250 prize, Chadwell said.

Other notable winners included a 2.16-pound tomato submitted by John Hilstolsky of Pennsylvania.

Haist also won for the largest watermelon, a fruit that weighed in at 110.5 pounds.

Altogether, $8,000 in prize money was distributed to the top growers in several categories.

The car dealership Smith Ford of Cooperstown won the pumpkin regatta.

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