There is no sign of the national shortage of pumpkins at York Maze, according to owner and 'Maze Master' Tom Pearcy, where thousands of pumpkins are waiting to be carved. He says the annual week long Halloween festival opens today with a competition to find the UK’s biggest pumpkin adding that already one grower from Hampshire has entered what he hopes will scoop the top prize of £500.
Ian Paton and his twin brother Stuart from Lymington, Hampshire currently hold the UK record for the heaviest pumpkin which they set in 2010 with a pumpkin weighing 1,504lb (682kg).
Ian Patton says, “This year’s growing conditions have not been ideal and we had some difficulties with pollination. It looks like we won’t be breaking our own UK record this year but we have still managed to grow a 1,160lb (526kg) pumpkin, the equivalent of about five baby elephants, which we’re confident is the largest in the UK.
“We’re delighted to be entering our giant pumpkin into the York Maze competition and hope we can scoop the top prize. It is great that so many people will get the chance to see it over the next week.”
The 'Maze Master' says the UK Giant Pumpkin Competition weigh-off is being held at York Maze today. He adds that there is a £500 prize for the heaviest pumpkin in the competition with second and third prizes of £50 each. And says there is also a children’s category and all children entering a pumpkin into the competition get free entry into the York Maze Halloween festival.
Tom Pearcy from York Maze says, “We offered £2000 for anyone who could set a new UK record, but it looks like the miserable summer means the Patton brother’s record won’t be broken this year. Their 1160lb entry looks set to take the £500 prize for biggest pumpkin in the UK this year but we’d be delighted to be proved wrong!
“Even if you don’t have a 1000lb giant there is still the chance to take one of the £50 runner’s up prizes and we’d like to encourage children to enter too.
“After the competition on Saturday, next week we’ll be carving the UKs biggest pumpkin into the UK’s biggest Jack o Lantern, which visitors will be able to see.”
Tom adds that the UK’s biggest pumpkin and all the other entrants will be on display as part of the York Maze Halloween Festival which runs from Sat 27 Oct – Sat 3 November and includes over 20 rides, events and activities including the Ghostmania Ride and the Phantomime show. He also says that there will be displays of celebrity pumpkin carving, the opportunity to carve your own pumpkin, and the chance to win a gold pumpkin worth over £1000.
The 'Maze Master' says if you’d like to enter a pumpkin into the competition today, visit the York Maze website for details www.yorkmaze.co.uk