100 YEARS OF GROW­ING Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis roll out pump­kin grow­ing con­test

Plants avail­able at farm­ers’ mar­ket Tues­day

Manteca Bulletin - - Front Page - By DEN­NIS WY­ATT

The Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis — the non-profit that stages the down­town Pump­kin Fair — is cel­e­brat­ing Man­teca’s cen­ten­nial as a city with what else but a pump­kin grow­ing con­test.

There is $1,800 in prize money up for grabs in the “closed” con­test. Only those who pur­chase a $5 pump­kin plant from the Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis and fill out a reg­is­tra­tion ticket can com­pete for the prize money. There are 200 pump­kin plants be­ing sold. Given there are six cash prizes there is a one in 33 chance of win­ning.

The gi­ant pump­kin plants are avail­able this Tues­day, June 12, at the Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis booth at the Man­teca Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Mar­ket & Mu­sic that takes place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. If they are not all sold Tues­day the club may ex­tend the reg­is­tra­tion an ad­di­tional week or so.

The pump­kin is king when it comes to Man­teca area agri­cul­ture. Al­though in terms of dol­lar value they are eas­ily sur­passed by the Big Three — al­monds, grapes, and dairy — in terms of mar­ket share they are the undis­puted king. Al­most 74 per­cent of all com­mer­cial grown pump­kins in Cal­i­for­nia roll out of Man­teca each fall after be­ing har­vested from area farm­land. Last year 75,400 tons of pump­kins were shipped

with a whole­sale value of $28.3 mil­lion. Un­der the strength of the Man­teca area, Cal­i­for­nia ranks No. 2 when it comes to pump­kin pro­duc­ing states.

The largest pump­kins in three weight cat­e­gories — un­der 200 pounds, 200 to 500 pounds and over 1,000 pounds will re­ceive prizes of $100, $200, and $500 re­spec­tively. The tallest (high­est point on the skin) pump­kin will re­ceive $200, the pump­kin with the near­est per­fect shape $ 300, and a pump­kin that looks like a celebrity $500.

Judg­ing will be done dur­ing the Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis Man­teca Pump­kin Fair Oct. 6-7 in down­town Man­teca. Cat­e­gory win­ners will be de­ter­mined by the ob­jec­tive and sub­jec­tive find­ings of the judges. All de­ci­sions of the judges are fi­nal.

You are al­lowed to amend your soil as nec­es­sary to as­sure vigorous growth.

To al­low room for your pump­kin to grow it re­quires at least a min­i­mum of 100 square feet. They need to be planted in full sun. To pro­mote the size of one pump­kin, pinch off other fruit as they form to al­low the vine to fo­cus on cre­at­ing one gi­ant pump­kin.

Or­ga­niz­ers re­mind par­tic­i­pants to al­low suc­cess to the pump­kin so when the time comes it can be loaded onto a truck or trailer to trans­port it to the Pump­kin fair.

The Ki­wa­nis in­di­cated they are ap­pre­cia­tive of Park Green­house in Ripon for their sup­port of the pump­kin grow­ing con­test.

For more in­for­ma­tion, go to sun­riseki­wa­nis.org or man­te­ca­pump­kin­fair.org.

Photo con­tributed

Arvin Reed pro­motes the Sun­rise Ki­wa­nis pump­kin grow­ing con­test.

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