CHICAGO (CBS) — Fall officially began Thursday, but one sign of fall is Saturday at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm in Lockport, the annual gigantic pumpkin weigh-off.
General manager Kaity Siegel expects 30 to 40 “ginormous pumpkins” from Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan at the contest.
“I’m hoping for a 2,000 or more pound pumpkin,” she said.
Siegel said her family farm has been hosting the pumpkin competition off-and-on since the 1990s.
What does it take to grow a pumpkin that’s several hundred pounds?
“Babying them like they’re your own child,” Seigel said with a laugh.
She means it.
“They’ll actually start them in the wintertime where they’ll have the seeds inside their house. They’ll even have a heating pad underneath those seeds,” she said.
After that, the growers taken them outside and put them under a tent, and when the tent becomes too small, a shade cloth is put over it, according to Siegel.
The giant pumpkins also require a special variety of seeds.
The winner of Saturday’s competition gets a $4,000 prize, and the pumpkin will be on display for the rest of the season.
Siegel said, to date, the largest pumpkin the competition has had was just under 1,000 pounds about 10 years ago.
The big pumpkin weigh-off starts at noon Saturday at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm, 17250 Weber Road in Lockport.