Signature Attractions

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Master Pumpkin Carvers…Giant Pumpkin Drops from Cranes…A World of Toasty Fall and Orange–Themed Fun!

“Pumpsburgh Profiles”—The Country’s Best Master Carvers Will Craft Pumpkin Portraits of Famous Pittsburghers.

At right, Russ Leno poses with one of his colossal creations. Leno holds the record for the “World’s Largest Giant Pumpkin Sculpture” at 1,262 pounds!!!

The country’s top pumpkin carvers headline the first Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival, all of them renowned performers in this unique field of “temporary art.” Headlining the event are: Russ Leno, Gus Smithhisler, Steve Dahlke, Dean Murray, Pennsylvania’s Danny Kissel and Pittsburgh’s own, Jim Morgan. Together, the six artists have earned many national and international awards and have appeared on TV shows such as: Food Network, Tonight Show and Martha Stewart.

Cucurbit Citizens

The carvers will arrive several days before the event to begin their work—picking, scraping, etching, chiseling and fashioning—raw pumpkin into portraits of some of Pittsburgh’s most prominent people including: Mister Rogers, Andy Warhol, Andrew Carnegie…and a few other surprise denizens of distinction.


See Smashing Pumpkins!

No, it’s not the famed music band. Our version is much more literal, dramatic and hyper-charged with anticipation. It’s what happens when you hoist a nearly 2,000 pound pumpkin 100+ feet into the air by crane and watch it come crashing to the ground—in one earth-shaking cacophony of cucurbit crunch. Except…we’ve planned some twists to our titanic falls:

1. The Pumpkin Piñata—for the kids of course…twice during the weekend, we’ll hollow out one of these big boys and fill it with all sorts of candy treats. Except there’s no pounding with a stick or bat…we drop it straight to the ground, then open the gates and let the kids pick up the pieces—of candy, not pumpkin.

2. The Project Bundle–Up Pumpkin Splash—we’ve teamed up with WTAE Channel-4 and the Salvation Army to assist this worthy service effort—that provides new winter coats, hats, scarves, mittens and boots to thousands of underprivileged western Pennsylvania children and senior citizens annually—with one gigantic splash of a promotion.

Here’s how it works: we fill a 12’-diameter, 3’-deep inflatable pooProject Bundle Up WTAE SA Flat Colorl with water and numbered ping pong balls. A reasonable donation gets you one ball in the pool and one chance at winning. At the end of the day Saturday, we release the pumpkin into the pool. The prodigious plunge wildly disperses the balls. The one traveling farthest from the pool gets the goods. So get your gourd face on and into the game…to donate and discover the prizes—click here!

And, to get a firsthand look at what happens to a giant pumpkin when it falls over 100 feet to the ground, watch this video!

Video Credit: Blue Grass Nursery Pumpkin Festival

Gourd Giveaway!

Baierl Toyota “Pumpkins In A Pickup Patch”

Pumpkins are the theme, fun and flavor of the event. And, while our giants are a little large for you to take home, we do have hundreds of “right-size” pumpkins for families and kids…ready to be decorated and displayed for Halloween.
We’ll be giving away FREE, soccer-ball sized pumpkins all weekend long while our supplies last at the Baierl Toyota Pumpkins In a Pickup Patch! Just look for the shiny new Toyota pickups on site with their truck beds filled to the brim with Halloween’s favorite fruit. One per family please…and while you’re in the patch take advantage of the decoration station nearby…where our artists can give your pumpkin a friendly, silly or spooky face.

Champions Row

Dave Stelts with his 1,994 pound prize pumpkin
Western PA’s Dave Stelts with his incredible 1,934-pound pumpkin at the 2018 Ohio Valley Giant Pumpkin Growers weigh-off. Dave’s resume is at the top of the Who’s Who book of giant pumpkin growers. He has 10 total first place finishes at GPC-sanctioned weigh-offs and has grown over 50 pumpkins exceeding 1,000 or more pounds. He set the GPC world record in 2000 and finished 2nd and 3rd in 2009 and 2011 respectively. Meet Dave at Pittsburgh Monster Pumpkins Festival…and see this incredible fruit which one of our master carvers will turn into one giant pumpkin portrait!

Staged on the Market Street Pier at the Riverwalk, three regional champion pumpkins will be on display—as officially designated by the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth [GPC]. Are all expected to be in excess of 2,000 pounds!

Members of the New York, Michigan and the Pennsylvania Giant Pumpkin Growers Association (PGPGA) including western PA’s own Dave Stelts—former GPC president, world record holder and one of the most prolific growers in the world—will be on hand to answer questions and detail the level of determination and drive necessary to turn a tiny seed into a towering pumpkin.

Seed Diving…digging in to dig’em out!

Someone has got to do it…preserving seeds for next year’s crop of giants is paramount…members of the GPC are constantly refining techniques, soil science and growth experiences…which each new growing season begins with the seeds harvested from the champions the year before.

But to get them, you have to get in them…in a practice known affectionately as “seed diving.” Our champions will demonstrate and, if you’re willing, suit up some diving daredevils from the crowd who want to get a feel for how it’s done.

Seed diving is the colorful name given to the practice of extracting the seeds from cultivated pumpkins so they can be used for the following year’s harvest.

Through a Grant ID

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