These are the pumpkins of Charlie Brown’s daydreams.
These are also the famous giant orange gourds that have been weighed every October for the past 15 to 20 years in Old Colorado City. This year the Rocky Mountain Giant Vegetable Growers and Giant Pumpkin Commonwealth decided to uproot the popular pumpkin weigh-off and move it east to Smith Farms in Falcon for Saturday’s new Giant Pumpkin Festival.
“We have more activities for kids and more space,” said Smith Farms owner Adam Smith. “We’re not stuck on a street. We’ve got all the farm animals. It goes more hand-in-hand with something like a giant pumpkin weigh-off.”
Folks from around Colorado, and one from Kansas, will load up their enormous pumpkins and haul them out to get weighed on a 2,500-pound scale. Many of the pumpkins weigh over 1,000 pounds, and would probably fit in a 5-foot-by-5-foot space, said Smith. The more they weigh, the better the chance at taking home prize money. First place wins $1,400. Not too shabby for a hobbyist doing some summer gardening.
While some will come for the gigantic vegetables, thirstier patrons will be there for the 1 p.m. debut of Venetucci Pumpkin Ale, where beer lovers can purchase drafts. The brew will also be released and sold at 5 p.m. at Bristol Brewing Co. For the first time, Smith Farms donated almost 2,500 pounds of pumpkins to make the much-anticipated seasonal ale.
“It’s something we’ve always wanted to do,” said Smith. “The Venetucci situation hits home with everybody.”
Operations at much-loved Venetucci Farm were suspended in July 2016 after it was discovered the farm’s main water source, the Widefield aquifer, contained potentially hazardous amounts of perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in wells used for irrigation.
Brewers churned out 120 kegs of the Pumpkin Ale this year, which will also be available at select liquor stores in town. It’s made with the little pie pumpkins, said Kortney Reyes, Bristol’s events and promotions manager. They get grilled up, which caramelizes them and brings out the flavor, before getting added to the recipe.
“It’s the same recipe they’ve been using since it started,” said Reyes. “It has a great pumpkin flavor, but it’s not overwhelming. It’s like Thanksgiving in a bottle. It’s not like a punch in the face with pumpkin.”
While adults weigh and drink stuff, kids can play on the giant jumping pillow, ride go-karts, visit with farm animals and go for hay rides. The Smith Farms farm stand will be open, and fresh baked goods will be available.