Orange

Pumpkins in Orange: A Festive Fall Showdown Will Take Seed This Spring

The Irvine Park Railroad team will help giant pumpkin growers get a spectacular springtime start.

Tan Dao Duy

What to Know

  • The Giant Pumpkin Grower's Forum at Irvine Park Railroad in Orange; the meet-up will help pumpkin enthusiasts get prepped for the growing season
  • Saturday, April 29 at 9 a.m.
  • The 2023 Great Pumpkin Weigh-off will happen on Sept. 23; cash prizes are part of the fall-themed fun

It's fitting that one of Southern California's best-known pumpkin-growing competitions takes place in Orange each September, for, well, pumpkins are often celebrated for their orange-awesome hue.

Call it a fine way to remember that the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off is a celebratory staple of the Irvine Park Railroad calendar, an eye-popping event that usually takes place somewhere in the vicinity of the autumnal equinox.

But long before that day arrives, way back in the springtime?

Competitors are looking ahead while planting their giant pumpkin seeds, an act that must occur before they carefully coax the potentially colossal fruits from the soil, one diligent day at a time.

To prep pumpkin people for the multi-month growing season, there is the Giant Pumpkin Grower's Forum at the attraction, which is located at Irvine Regional Park.

The 2023 event will sprout on Saturday, April 29 at 9 in the morning.

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Information, tips, watering suggestions, soil-based smarts, and other pumpkin pointers will flower at the squashy scene, which happens at Miner's Meadow just behind the train station.

One reason the Great Pumpkin Weigh-off, which is set for Sept. 23, 2023, is so popular with so many gardeners?

The cash prizes are generous. The 1st place pumpkin snagged $3,500 in 2022, an impressive amount that will most definitely buy a lot of seeds.

And speaking of seeds? There'll be a seed and seedling raffle on April 29. Sweet.

Something timely about the forum popping up on April's final Saturday? The final part of the fourth month is known among autumn enthusiasts as "Halfway to Halloween" time.

While some people watch monster movies or enjoy the sort of candy you might see on the spooky holiday, others may turn their thoughts to the occasion's outdoor pleasures, such as growing really, really big pumpkins, the kind of frightful fruits that could win oodles of cash.

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