After a year off due to the pandemic, thousands of pumpkin enthusiasts returned to Elk Grove this weekend to kick off the fall season at the 27th annual Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival.
Gardeners and growers lined up early Saturday to deliver their gigantic gourds and prized produce to the festival’s Giant Pumpkin and Produce Weigh-Off.
Leonardo Urena, of Napa, captured the day with his 1,623-pound pumpkin that earned him the $7,000 grand prize. Urena has competed in Elk Grove’s internationally sanctioned giant pumpkin contest for over 20 years and is now a four-time champion. He also took the title in 2005, 2011, and 2019.
Festival goers had the opportunity to see the giants, speak to the top three growers, and even take home some giant pumpkin seeds to plant next year.
Back again were festival favorites like food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, carnival rides, and the pumpkin patch benefitting Elk Grove Food Bank Services.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to bring Elk Grove’s favorite event back to the community this year,” said Phil Lewis, Parks and Recreation Administrator for the Cosumnes Community Services District. “It was great to see families and friends return to the park to reconnect, create new memories, and continue their annual traditions.”
The Elk Grove Giant Pumpkin Festival is organized by the Cosumnes Community Services District in partnership with many sponsors. A portion of festival proceeds benefit local youth and service organizations.