887-pound Pumpkin Wins Rapid City Weigh-off

Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014

RAPID CITY, SD – A pumpkin weighing 887 pounds won the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off at the sixth annual Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival on Saturday, Sept. 27. The pumpkin was grown by Mark Kaiser, of Mobridge. 

Kaiser received $1,000 in the contest sponsored by First National Bank and Pennington Title. Winning $750 with a 674-pound pumpkin was Matt Winey, of Rapid City. Jens Christensen, Sr., of Rapid City, received $500 for a 613-pound pumpkin. Aaron Christensen, of Rapid City, won fourth place and $300 with a 573-pound pumpkin, and Jerry Hook, of Rapid City, received fifth place and $100 with a 469-pound pumpkin.

Bill Foss, of Buffalo, MN, received $300 for the largest squash, one that weighed 566 pounds. Lisa Evans, of Rapid City, won the Howard Dill Award, and $100, for the prettiest pumpkin. Jens Christensen, Jr., of Rapid City, won the ugliest pumpkin award, and $100. Rapid City is a certified weigh-off site for the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, a national organization. 

Foss also brought a 174-pound watermelon, a 141-pound field pumpkin, and two giant tomatoes, one weighing 6.6 pounds and the other weighing 7.6 pounds, a possible state record.

The Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival is sponsored by the Rapid City Downtown Association and is a community-wide celebration of the harvest season. The festival was held in Main Street Square, on Sixth Street and in Memorial Park, and featured more than 50 vendors, Rapid City Rush Foundation Kidz Zone, a concert stage sponsored by Hotel Alex Johnson, a pumpkin catapult competition sponsored by RESPEC, and a Downtown Chef Challenge sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen. An estimated 25,000 people attended the one-day festival.

Amanda Roth, from the Hotel Alex Johnson, won the Downtown Chef Challenge. Downtown chefs were asked to bring a dish featuring pumpkin, and the dishes were judged by Catherine Huber, a retired restaurant owner, Jessica Nappi, of News Center 1, and Kay Baker, of Black Hills Corporation. Second in the competition sponsored by Someone’s in the Kitchen was Blake Itterman of the Blind Lion Speakeasy (below Murphy’s Pub), and third was Paul Herringer of Hotel Alex Johnson. All winners received gift certificates from Someone’s in the Kitchen. Other competitors represented Que Pasa, Wine Cellar Restaurant, Isis Hospitality, Murphy’s Pub and Enigma Restaurant.

“The festival was created with the purpose of celebrating the arrival of fall and showcasing the colors of the season in Downtown Rapid City while drawing visitors and residents to the heart of our city,” said Megan Whitman, executive director. “With about 25,000 people attending the festival and experiencing Downtown Rapid City, we certainly did our job.”

Eight teams from the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Production at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology built catapults to fling pumpkins hundreds of feet in Memorial Park, in a contest hosted by RESPEC.

Other activities were drum demonstrations by the Stevens High School and Central High School drum lines, and a performance by Woody Earwood.

Arts Rapid City held a pumpkin carving contest with “Mo” by Morris Nerf winning the “Artsiest” and the Rapid City Convention and Visitor’s Bureau winning “Rapid City Inspired.” Event attendees voted on their favorite, with Nerf’s pumpkin receiving the most votes.

A Downtown Pub Crawl wrapped up the festivities. Participants visited 445 Lounge, Brass Rail, Firehouse Brewing Company, Firehouse Wine Cellars, Independent Ale House, Murphy’s Pub, Paddy O’Neill’s Pub & Casino, Que Pasa, Thirsty’s, VFW and Wobbly Bobby. Eagle Sales sponsored the activity.

The Rapid City Downtown Association secured free parking in Downtown Rapid City on Saturday, Sept. 27, for convenience while shopping and attending the Great Downtown Pumpkin Festival.

Event sponsors include Rapid City Downtown Association, RESPEC, Hotel Alex Johnson, Someone’s in the Kitchen, Rapid City Rush Foundation, Eagle Sales, First National Bank and Pennington Title. Partners were NewsCenter1 and Rapid City Journal.

More information on this event and photos can be found at MainStreetSquareRC.com or facebook.com/MainStreetSquare.

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