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Pumpkins carve out impression at Coupeville's Harvest Fest

Interns from Rosehip Farm don their jack o’lanterns to participate in the Harvest Relays, one of the highlights of Coupeville’s Harvest Fest. From left are Alan Sande-Filipczak, Justin McClane, Alison Spande-Filipczak, Addie Candib, Lara Doodrich and Zack Ezor.  - Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times
Interns from Rosehip Farm don their jack o’lanterns to participate in the Harvest Relays, one of the highlights of Coupeville’s Harvest Fest. From left are Alan Sande-Filipczak, Justin McClane, Alison Spande-Filipczak, Addie Candib, Lara Doodrich and Zack Ezor.
— image credit: Nathan Whalen/Whidbey News-Times

Big zucchinis, even bigger pumpkins and pumpkin heads were clearly the highlights of Coupeville’s annual fall celebration.

Harvest Fest took place Saturday in the large field behind the library where hundreds of people arrived to mark a productive year for Central Whidbey farms and take advantage of one last chance to buy locally grown produce at the Farmers Market.

One record was broken. Peter Case-Smith, defending giant zucchini champion grower, won top prize this year in the giant zucchini competition. He showed up with a robust, 36-pound, 11-ounce Romanesco zucchini, which is the largest zucchini to ever win the Coupeville contest.

Case-Smith, a freshman at Oak Harbor High School, said he hopes to save the seeds from his prized zucchini to grow similarly sized ones in the future. It will be displayed at Case Farm and it will eventually be fed to the cows. His zucchini was one of four entries participating in the contest.

Long-time giant pumpkin contest organizer Lee Roof won this year’s contest with his 838-pounder. Second place went to Clinton resident Christyn Johnston, who grew a 309-pound pumpkin and third place went to Coupeville resident Bob Warder, who grew a 224-pound pumpkin.

Saturday’s first-place award marked the third time Roof won the contest, which is in its 15th year. But his hefty gourd wasn’t his only pumpkin to receive recognition Saturday.

Roof’s 796-pound entry earned the “prettiest giant” award while the Oak Harbor Youth Center Garden Club’s 121-pound entry earned the “ugliest giant” prize.

Only nine pumpkins entered the 2010 Harvest Fest contest, which is a small number compared to previous years.

Roof speculated the poor growing season and the rainy weather during Saturday’s Harvest Fest contributed to the low turnout.

He said he plans to organize another contest in 2011. To help spark interest in potential participants next year, seeds from the winning pumpkins will be available to any growers free of charge next spring.

In addition to the pumpkin and zucchini contests, the harvest relays were also a popular attraction. Seven teams competed in such events as the udder pull, something fishy and gallopin garlic. In the end, the “Farmers’ Daughters,” consisting of Trina Thomas, Roshel Muzzall, Jennifer Muzzall, Sheila Case Smith and Jasmine Case Smith, earned the best time.

One noteworthy group was the interns from Rosehip Farm located south of Coupeville. The team, known as the Pumpkin Heads, carved jack o’lanterns for festive headgear during the light-hearted relays that also served as a fundraiser for Gifts from the Heart food bank. They earned “people’s choice” and “most moolah” awards for their efforts.

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