October 4, 2011

Country Fair Winners!

Thank you to everyone (again and again) for your fantastic suggestions on picking the binding fabric for my quilt! Once i finish it off, i'll be sure to show you how it all turned out. So for Part One of the giveaway, and our random winner of the Terrain fat-eighth bundle...
Hooray to you! We sent out your bundle yesterday and it's already on its way to your front door!

Onto Part Two of our giveaway...

Sunday was a big day here in Fairfield...and i mean BIG! Giant pumpkins were trucked in from all over Connecticut and neighboring Rhode Island for the annual CT Giant Squash and Pumpkin Grower's Association weigh-off. That's the CTGSPGA for short. You've heard of it, right? Me neither. And like me, did you also not know that there's an International Great Pumpkin Commonwealth (GPC)? Yep, we've been missing out! The growers and farmers we met on Sunday were such an enthusiastic bunch and i could have talked pumpkin with them all day long. As it was, Pete and i learned many interesting facts about these...fruits!
Some of you were wondering how the pumpkins are transported. As far as we could understand, they're lifted from their patch using a pulley system and harnesses that are specially configured around a big metal ring to ensure the weight is as evenly distributed as possible. Here's a picture i found that matched the description one of the farmers had given to me:
Then they're lowered into the back of a truck and onto a wooden palette that's been covered with a soft, cushie material like foam insulation panels or blankets. This one is being unloaded here in Fairfield, but you get the idea:
dropping off
All i could think of is what these must have looked like driving down the interstate in the back of a pick up truck!! Over the course of the morning, more pumpkins continued to appear — including Dr. Garrell's — the one you were asked to guess the weight of. Hooray! Well, until the one to the right of his showed up.
We had a chance to talk with Dr. Garrell and found out that he lost his entire patch during hurricane Irene...except this one pumpkin that he found floating in the flood waters. He explained how heartbroken he was after hand-pollinating the pumpkins and nurturing them through what was unanimously a very challenging growing season. Apparently his dreams of record-making-victory were dashed when his contender stopped growing over a month ago. I asked how he knew that it stopped growing? The answer blew me away. He told me that once a pumpkin of the giant variety reaches beach ball size, it will grow somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds a day, A DAY!! Is that crazy or what?! And they do much of their growing at night. Here's a cool time-lapse clip that shows a giant pumpkin growing from 40 to 225 pounds. The photos were taken every 4 hours and only during daylight hours, but it still gives you a sense of the rate at which these things grow:


Back to our escalating competition...after a pumpkin was dropped off, a swat team of contest officials would swoop in and take measurements...
measuring at widest point
...and then they'd go around to each one and perform a "tap test" which would help them determine what kind of density the walls of the pumpkin has. The variety of sounds each one made was remarkable (i tagged along). Some were more hollow, some more thunkie, some more...i don't know...clunkie? As you can tell, my pumpkin vocabulary is limited.
Tap test
Don't they look like someone let the air out?

The pumpkins were then lifted (again with that metal ring and harnesses) and placed on a flat scale — sorry no pictures...camera battery was on-the-blink! But i managed to save just enough battery juice for one last photo of the BIG results:
Wow! As you can see, Dr. Garrell's pumpkin came in 6th place and weighed a whopping 836 pounds! Sooo...aren't you dying to know who guessed closest?! We were too! Won't you please join me in congratulating
We were so surprised that anyone guessed it exactly, but Jodi hit it smack on the bullseye! Way to go, Jodi! Your jelly roll was sent off yesterday so be on the lookout for it any day now.

Several of you were only off by a pound or two — impressive! And so all 15 of our additional winners guessed within a mere 10 pounds of the correct weight (without going over). If your name appears below, congratulations! Please send your mailing address to pete@katespain.com and we'll send your mini charm pack of Terrain off right away!
Thank you all so much for playing along!! GPC weigh-offs are happening all over the country around this time of year, and if you're curious (like me) you can check the standings here. However, the world-record (not listed, but shown here) was broken this year by a pumpkin weighing-in at 1810.5 pounds. That's a lotta pie!

I wanted to leave you with these two pictures because it is beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Halloween around here...
our resident Charlotte (or Charlie?) just outside our garage
xo,
kate

18 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Kate!
    The postman just brought my 38 piece fat eighth bundle to the door! It is beautiful!
    I'm sure I'll have many happy hours of sewing with your gorgeous fabrics!

    I wish you continued success and Happy sewing

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  2. Congratulations to Jodi! I enjoyed participating in your pumpkin weight guessing game. Also enjoyed going to the weigh off with you.

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  3. Well done to the guessers! I was WAY off! Do you know where a Kate-Spain-Terrain-groupie could procure a mini charm pack? I've googled and come up empty. Are they for sale anywhere that you know of or are they mostly for use in fun promos?

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  4. Lots of interesting information about the pumpkins!! I would love to come see them all together, never seen them so large! Thanks for post!

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  5. Wow, Kate, that is so fascinating! I had seen giant pumpkins growing up, but never really knew all the details of how they grow and the competition and all that. Thanks for that fun video too. So sorry not to see my name among the list of winners because I love your fabric, but I suppose it's just as well. I really should use up what I have before it takes over any more of my husband's space! ;)

    MGM

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  6. WOW what an amazing video! I enjoyed all the pumpkin facts and I am always interested in spider webs....they are so pretty.

    Have I mentioned pumpkin pie is my all time favorite pie??????????

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  7. What a fun post! Thanks for sharing! Congrats lucky winners! (both fabric and pumpkin winners, ha!)

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  8. Congratulations to all of the winners. After commenting that I was a terrible guesser ( am I am usually) I wasn't too far off with 821 lbs.:)

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  9. That was great. Thanks for a fun and educational time. Congrats to the winners.

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  10. ahh!! can't believe i was only 2 lbs off! Thanks for the mini charm pack in advance - so excited that i feel like the main winner! :)

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  11. Congratulations to all the winners. What an interesting post about those huge pumpkins,poor Dr Garrell losing all of his pumpkin patch, except one. from Jenny M (Australia)

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  12. Congratulations to all! Thank you, Kate, for such a fun contest, and especially for all the information about Great Pumpkins! Happy Fall!

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  13. I had no idea of this interesting hobby of growing huge pumpkins, thanks Kate for bringing it to us. The children's rhyme, Peter, Peter Pumpkin eater has a little more credence now! Well done to those who got it right, or close enough! I enjoyed trying to.

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  14. That was soooo much fun! Thank you, Miss Kate! SUCH anticipation! So much so that all my boys (2 sons and hubby) also had to have a go at guessing the pumpkin weight! They were all closer than I was, too! Congrats to all you lucky guessers!!! Looking forward to seeing which binding is going on your beautiful quilt, too!

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  15. Those pumpkins are amazing! Congrats to all the winners. My guess was way off but is was such fun.

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  16. Congrats to the winners. wow! those pumpkins are amazing and heavy. lol

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  17. The thing that surprised me the most was Dr Garrell's name. That's my mother's family's name and there don't seem to be that many of them around. Do you have any contact information for him - even a first name and city? I enjoyed guessing but apparently I didn't get it right. Oh well - there's always next year!

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  18. Ha! Did I post a comment this time? Great! I've been trying and trying but couldn't get my comments to appear. Yea to Kate for such Country Fair fun! Thanks!

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