Wookey Hole Caves is offering a £1,000 prize for the heaviest pumpkin grown this summer in a Halloween Pumpkin Competition.
The competition is open to any green-fingered enthusiast who would like to take part in this summer pumpkin growing festival.
Entrants are being offered an incentive to plant pumpkin seeds during May with one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions offering a £1,000 prize for the biggest pumpkin grown by this October.
The Wookey Hole Caves Pumpkin Competition is aimed at encouraging horticulture in the region and producing a bumper crop of pumpkins for Hallowe’en 2018.
May is the perfect time to plant pumpkin seeds to enable them to be at their biggest in October. Judging will take place at Wookey Hole Caves on a special pumpkin day in October with the owner of the heaviest pumpkin clinching the £1,000 top prize.
The competition, which includes other fun prizes for pumpkin growers, will culminate in a magnificent display of entries at Wookey Hole Caves.
Daniel Medley, Director of Wookey Hole Caves said: “As the home of the legendary witch of Wookey Hole Hallowe’en is our biggest date in the calendar. Every year the Park is adorned with hundreds of pumpkins but this year we wanted to see just how good the West Country is at producing the giant gourds.
“We’d love to see the residents of Somerset and beyond cultivating their prize-winning pumpkins to create a masterpiece to bring to the Caves and be judged. We are looking for the heaviest, the spookiest and the most perfect pumpkins. We think the West Country is the perfect location to grow the best pumpkins, maybe even record-breaking!
“Pumpkin competitions are common in America and there are a few across the UK. Our prize enables people to grow their own investment over the summer. We believe it is big enough to attract some serious professional pumpkin growers and maybe we can beat UK or World Record for Somerset.
“We also want people to see what they can achieve in their own gardens so we have other fun categories as well that both adults and children can enter.”
There will be a prize for the “most perfect” pumpkin, which will go to the specimen that is most pleasing on the eye to the panel of judges and a prize for the “spookiest” carved or decorated pumpkin that will be chosen by the Witch of Wookey Hole. Other fun prizes will be announced on the day.
The Wookey Hole Competition is open to anyone using any pumpkin seeds or techniques for growing. There is no entry fee but to be eligible the pumpkin must be transported to Wookey Hole Caves for the judging day.
The main prizes and categories are as follows:
Heaviest Pumpkin: Pumpkins will be weighed on the Wookey Hole industrial scales with the heaviest receiving a cash prize of £1,000.
Perfect Pumpkin: This will be judged by a top horticulture expert and will go to the healthiest and best looking pumpkin. The winner will receive a weekend break and free family pass to Wookey Hole Caves for a year.
Spookiest pumpkin: This competition is open to under 16s and will be judged by the Witch of Wookey. Large or small, round or tall the witch will select a number of winners. Each will receive a hamper of spooky goodies; have a specially framed photograph of themselves and the pumpkin with the witch and receive family passes to Wookey Hole Caves, including a special hallowe’en treat.
The record for the world’s heaviest pumpkin is 2,624.6 lb. It was grown in Belgium by Mathias Willemijns in 2016 while the UK record stands at 2,270lb for a pumpkin grown that same year near Southampton.
Said Daniel Medley: “If anyone believes they have a pumpkin over 2,000 lb in weight and need help transporting it to the competition we will look at ways we can help as it would be fantastic to set records here in Somerset.”
Hints and tips on how to grow your pumpkin are available on the Wookey Hole Caves website along with more details of the competition www.wookey.co.uk.