Anchorage ‘Pumpkin Man’ aims for a win at State Fair despite last year’s crash
Dale Marshall’s license plate says it all: GROBIG. For years Marshall has been growing giant vegetables to enter in the Alaska State Fair, particularly enormous pumpkins.
He began entering pumpkins in the fair in 2008. Marshall lost the first year, then won all the rest — except for two years when he was disqualified. In 2011 Marshall grew what was easily the largest pumpkin Alaska had ever seen. At more than 1,700 pounds, it easily eclipsed the state record. But a small hole that was discovered on the underside of the pumpkin disqualified it.
Then last year, tragedy struck again. As a giant crane lifted the pumpkin for it’s journey to the fair, a cable snapped and the pumpkin came crashing down. Months of work were destroyed in a matter of minutes.
This year Marshall thinks he may have a winner again. While not nearly as big as the pumpkin he grew in 2016, Marshall has a pumpkin in his greenhouse he estimates weighs around 1,300 pounds. He said the pumpkin is gaining about 10 pounds a day. Factor in the number of days left before the fair, and it could easily surpass 1,400 pounds and make for a new state record.
Marshall also has a few backup pumpkins in case something goes wrong although he’s only allowed one entry in the pumpkin category. He’s hopeful this year there will be no problems.
He’ll find out Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. during the Great Pumpkin Weigh-Off at the fair. A win would net him $1,000.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the words on Dale Marshall’s license plate. It has been corrected.
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