The Lovitt family has a unique hobby – growing giant pumpkins

Many people have a hobby they really enjoy. For some, hobbies might be things like sewing, reading or playing sports, but for the Lovitt family it is giant pumpkin growing. For the last 12 years, the family has grown giant pumpkins for the North Carolina State Fair competitions.  The whole family is involved in the year-round commitment to growing the best pumpkin possible and getting it to weigh-offs in October. Brother and sister, TJ and Marina, enter pumpkins every year.  While the growing is now a whole-family activity, the idea originated from dad Gary. After seeing a giant pumpkin seed…

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Giants among us: What it takes to grow giant fruits

The N.C. State Fair showcases a variety of fruits and vegetables from across the state each year. The stars of the show; however, are the giant pumpkins and watermelons.  Brandon Huber, a North Carolina State University doctoral student, has always been fascinated by plants, especially those that can grow really large. The Philadelphia native has grown competition-quality giant pumpkins for ten years now, adding watermelons to his agenda once moving to North Carolina. Over the years, Huber has managed to produce several impressive giants. Huber’s largest pumpkin weighed in at 667 pounds, while his largest watermelon was 170 pounds. Huber’s…

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Giant pumpkin and watermelon set new State Fair records

A 1,551.5-pound pumpkin grown by Chris Rodebaugh of Lewisburg, W. Va. and a watermelon weighing 327.5 pounds grown by Christopher Kent of Sevierville, Tenn. took the top prizes in the N.C. State Fair’s Great Pumpkin and Watermelon Weigh-Off. Both entries shattered previous N. C State Fair records. Rodebaugh is a first-time grower, and gathered the information needed to grow his super-sized pumpkin from the internet. “I saw some entries into my local State Fair in West Virginia and thought, ‘that’s pretty neat.’ I thought I’d try to grow one myself,” he said. When asked if he’d return in 2019, he…

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It’s the Giant Pumpkin!

Earlier this morning the giant pumpkin arrived at the Exposition Center for its 11-day reign over the  N.C. State Fair horticultural exhibits. This 799.6-pound pumpkin belongs to  Jack and  Pat Bacheler of Clayton.  Jack planted the pumpkin in June and spent about and hour and a half a day six days a week training the vines to form the root system needed to support a pumpkin of this size. The pumpkin was certified two weeks ago at the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in Elkin.  If no other larger pumpkins come in, the Bacheler’s will take home the $300 prize money…

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