WASHINGTON CITY — Massive orange chunks went flying Saturday evening at Staheli Family Farm as giant pumpkins rained down onto refrigerators, splashed into a pool and demolished a car.
The monster pumpkins, weighing in between 300-500 pounds each, were dangled from a crane and dropped from the air by members of Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers in support of Braden Burke, a 19-year-old cancer patient in St. George.
Hundreds of people gathered in awe as approximately 5,000 pounds of behemoth squash exploded onto broken fridges and a junker, caking the area and some guests with oversized seeds and stringy pumpkin guts.
The pumpkin drop, part of the Staheli Family Farm’s “Fun Fall” lineup, coincided with the unfurling of an equally giant American flag in honor of the nation’s veterans.
The giant flag was held up by audience members while Lainee McDonald sang the national anthem.
“One of the reasons we are able to do this is because of the freedoms we have in this country,” event organizer Kyle Fox said.
Fox is a member of Follow the Flag, a group based in Utah responsible for flying an American flag a quarter-acre in size.
“I love giant pumpkins and I love my country, so I’m always combining the two,” Fox said. “Today we were able to bring – ‘Baby Betsy’ is what I call her; it’s a smaller flag – and let the community get around it and hold it.”
As a member of Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers, Fox joined St. George-based grower Brian Davis to bring the jocund pleasure of large-scale pumpkin smashing to Southern Utah.
“I know it’s a little tougher down here,” Fox said, “Haven’t seen a lot of pumpkins coming out of St. George in this heat, but it can be done.”
He said the first secret to growing giant pumpkins starts with an abnormally large seed, which can be obtained from Utah Giant Pumpkin Growers.
“Soil is the next important thing,” he explained. “You don’t just really throw it in the ground; you won’t have as much success as if you were to bring in nice compost – organic matter. And then third thing is luck.”
The pumpkins grow as much as 50 pounds per day.
“It’s pretty impressive to see them almost duplicate their size overnight,” Fox said, “You can almost physically watch them grow with your own eyes.”
A portion of proceeds from the pumpkin drop will be donated to Braden Burke to help him fight stage 4 metastatic melanoma cancer. Donations can also be made to assist with medical bills directly at Gofundme.
Ed. note: When making charitable contributions it is advisable to consult with professionals for tax advice and investment risks.
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