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Gouverneur drops 300-pound pumpkin from crane at festival

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GOUVERNEUR — Pumpkins and people countywide crowded the fairgrounds over the weekend for the 2nd annual Pumpkin Festival.

People gathered round to watch a 300-pound pumpkin filled with golf balls drop from a crane and splatter on a metal plate.

“Pumpkin guts and balls were flying in Gouverneur,” said Connie M. Stowell, Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce president.

The 300-pound pumpkin was filled with 400 numbered golf balls, for which people were able to buy $5 tickets. The three winning tickets with the numbered balls that traveled the farthest after hitting the ground won cash prizes.

Eldon B. Conklin, Gouverneur town council member, was selling tickets for the golf balls all day.

“I started selling them around 9 this morning and we sold out by quarter after two,” he said.

After a suspense-building countdown, the pumpkin was released, dropping 100 feet. It shattered across the lawn, sending golf balls bouncing in all directions as the crowd applauded.

This was the first year for the pumpkin drop.

Ms. Stowell said this year, the chamber partnered with the Gouverneur Fair Association to pull the weekend together.

“The chamber used to do October Fest and the Fair Association did Pumpkin Fest last year,” she said. “We just decided to combine efforts and make it a two-day event.”

After some test drops earlier Saturday morning, organizers put caution tape around the area surrounding the metal plate where the pumpkin would splatter to keep people from being injured by flying pieces of pumpkin and golf balls.

The pumpkin drop brought in $2,000, half divided up among the three winners and the other half going to the Gouverneur Fair Association.

Debbie Sheen’s ticket won the $500 first prize, as her ball went the farthest, 75 feet. Evelyn Holmes won $300 for her ball that traveled 67 feet and Jim Jackson, Gouverneur, won $200 for his ball that went 61.9 feet.

The festival also included miniature horses, several different vendors, 4-H children’s activities and a pumpkin pie eating contest.

The festival will continue today with another giant pumpkin drop as well as a giant pumpkin contest, with pumpkins as big as 500 pounds.

Next year, Mr. Wetmore said they’re planning on not only having the pumpkin drop, but also adding a pumpkin catapult.

“One of our board members is a mechanic and he wants to build a catapult to shoot the pumpkins,” he said.

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