Orange County

Girthful Gourds Go for Glory at The Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off

The Irvine Park Railroad's annual competition pays homage to mondo fall fruits and the talented people who grow them.


What to Know

  • Saturday, Sept. 25 at 9 a.m.
  • Irvine Park Railroad in Orange
  • Entry to the pumpkin patch is free, parking is $5 per vehicle on Saturday or Sunday

Several sights found around the grocery store can elicit a surprised squeal.

Your favorite cookie is back in stock? Squeal. There's a deal on the cereal you loved when you were a kid? Squeal. You chose the fastest check-out line, something you've sworn up and down that you never do? That's going to inspire a squeal, yeah.

But nothing prompts an excited elation like a tiny, adorable, hold-it-in-your-palm pumpkin. They're wee, they're miniature, and autumn enthusiasts are famous for wanting to pumpkin-up every nook and cranny they come across.

Cute pumpkins have a contender for our hearts, however: colossal pumpkins, those patch-dominating behemoths that can sometimes top 1,000 pounds, or at least several hundred.

If those are the sorts of squashes that make you squeal, best head straight to Orange, and the Irvine Park Railroad pumpkin patch, where a number of monster pumpkins will go stem-to-stem for the 2021 crown.

The date?

The Great Pumpkin Weigh-off is happening on the first Saturday of fall, so Sept. 25.

This is right around the time, at least around these parts, when it is time for giant pumpkin growers to pick their patch's best pumpkins and send them to the scales, the judges, and, just perhaps, the annals of pumpkin glory.

Several cash prizes will be given out, including one going to the New Grower of the Year, as well as the Prettiest Pumpkin.

Even if you don't have a ginormous gourd to enter, you can still stop by and see this quintessentially September spectacle.

As for what's happening at the popular patch, the setting for this seed-filled showdown? So many activities, from train rides, cookie decorating, and a pumpkin ring toss.

Wholesome pursuits found around the patch have their own fee, do keep in mind. Parking is also additional, but entering the pumpkin-laden location is free.

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