- Associated Press - Saturday, September 30, 2017

CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. (AP) - Western New York pumpkin growers begin their annual face off this weekend in one of the state’s most popular contests.

The Great Pumpkin Farm in Clarence Center, near Buffalo, holds its annual competition Sunday. It’s one of a half-dozen pumpkin-growing contests around the state happening this weekend.

The farm boasts having had the Guinness Book of World Records’ first 1,000-pound pumpkin in 1996, grown by Nathan and Paula Zehr.

But half-ton pumpkins are small potatoes these days.

The 2016 first place winner in Clarence Center was Karl Haist with a pumpkin weighing just shy of a ton, at 1,964.5 pounds. A contest in Saratoga Springs last weekend had a winner topping 1,700 pounds.

The current world record, grown in Belgium, weighed more than 2,600 pounds.

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