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The St. Croix Grower's Association & Stillwater Harvestfest: a humble giant pumkin beginning

Stillwater Harvestfest giant pumpkin weigh-off, 2005. Image courtesy of Shannon Engel

Back in the fall of 2004, a couple of Western Wisconsin giant pumpkin growers were kind of burned out from driving 3+ hours every October to weigh their giant pumpkins.  At the time, only two GPC-sanctioned giant pumpkin weigh-off sites existed in the upper Midwest:  Nekoosa, WI and Anamosa, IA.  Both of these guys recognized that there was a growing number of competitive growers in Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, yet no where to bring the fruits of their labor.  Over the course of the next 12 months, plans were created and work was done to establish a giant pumpkin club representing the Minneapolis/St. Paul greater metro area as well as a weigh-off site that could serve as a home for local growers.  As harvest approached in the fall of 2005, the St. Croix Grower's Association (SCGA) had been incorporated as the non-profit club serving giant pumpkin enthusiasts in the upper Midwest and Stillwater Harvestfest Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off was cobbled together as the first GPC-sanctioned event in the greater metro area. That year, 20 giant pumpkins arrived at the scale from patches as far away as Ohio.  Minnesota pumpkin growing legend Bill Foss weighed a MN state record 1020lb pumpkin and the SCGA & Stillwater Harvestfest were off and running to become one of the most recognized giant pumpkin clubs and weigh-offs on the planet.  And all because two guys with a vision and drive (the ambition kind of drive) to make it happen didn't want to drive (the long miles kind of drive) so far.  

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