Festival celebrates fall classics

Giant pumpkin sets new record for Placer County
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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This year’s winning pumpkin is the biggest on record for the Auburn Community Festival and Placer County. Meadow Vista resident Keith Goodrich’s giant tipped the scales at 1,285.5 pounds, to take home first prize Saturday at Recreation Park. Goodrich, an avid vegetable gardener, said the secret to his success is well-amended soil. “Get it tested,” he advised. “Amend it according to the recommendations from the testing lab and go from there.” The entry, which won $2,000 in total prize money — $1,500 for first-place and $500 for biggest grown in the county — was nearly twice as big as the pumpkin Goodrich entered last year, he said. That one weighed 731.5 pounds. Now in its 14th year, the Community Festival fills Recreation Park with the spirit of fall. The behemoth pumpkins share the spotlight with costume, scarecrow and recipe contests, a parade and vendor booths. For Goodrich, who attended the festival with his wife and two daughters, it’s a fun family outing. “It’s a great place to see people in the community that we know and love,” he said. “It’s a great thing for the community.” The winning pumpkin presented a special challenge for the Sugar Plump Fairies, who add their magic to many Auburn events. “We get on the scale and try to outweigh, collectively, the biggest pumpkin,” Sugar Plump Fairy Queen Fran Haynes said. “But we failed this year. Collectively (the total was) 1,114 pounds with all seven of us in full costume.” Haynes, a Meadow Vista resident, said the festival is one of the fairies’ favorite events “because of the wonderful community turnout and support, and the fabulous costume contest that the community totally gets behind — infants to adults participate.” It was too difficult to pick a favorite, she said, but added that two toddlers, one dressed as a baby Buddha and the other as Moses, were a particular standout. Haynes started the Sugar Plump Fairies in 1997. About two years ago, the group expanded its outreach to become a nonprofit, giving out $500 grants for arts-related endeavors. Scarecrow contest winner Kurt Barton of Meadow Vista has created an entry every year but one since the festival started. “This is my 13th lucky year I’ve entered,” he said. His “Shooting Geese in Technicolor” took the People’s Choice Award as well as the judges’ first place, for a total cash prize of $2,000. The idea for it came from a collection of goose decoys his father (now deceased) made in the 1950s. “(The display depicts) an Ansel Adams type of character with a camera on a tripod,” Barton said. The 29 decoys included five that were unpainted. So Barton and his daughter, an art major at Chico State University, gave them a makeover in bright colors. “She did overlapping circles for one of them,” Barton said. He painted one with orange flames. Another looks like a pink flamingo and another is done in red, white and blue. Barton placed the geese inside an enclosure made out of bamboo from his property. The scarecrow entries are a personal favorite for Goodrich. “The artistic work there is really kind of breathtaking,” he said. Having a record-setting year was a proud moment for festival founder and chairman Deric Rothe. “We had the largest pumpkin ever grown in Placer County, which is very exciting,” he said. “It went to a really nice guy, nice family. We had a record number of participants in the children’s costume contest and parade. It was a beautiful day in the sun. There was a diversity of vendors from politicians to service clubs to Protect American River Canyons and the Canyon Keepers. It was lots of fun (on our) 14th annual — a big success. We’re looking forward to doing it again next year — bigger and better.” Reach Gloria Young at ---------- Auburn Community Festival Giant Pumpkin weigh-off winners Open category 1st: $1,500 – Keith Goodrich, Meadow Vista – 1,285.5 pounds (also largest grown in Placer County - $500) 2nd: $800 – Tim Matheson, Napa – 1,008.5 pounds 3rd : $700 – Scott Henkin, West Sacramento – 939.5 pounds 4th: $500 – Steve Fry, Ophir – 928 pounds 5th: $275 – Jeff Larkin, Granite Bay – 853.5 pounds Youth category 1st: $200 – Micheala Shimek-Barryessa, Grass Valley – 509.5 pounds 2nd: $150 – Audrey Warren, Auburn – 375 pounds 3rd: $100 – Anna Fernandez, Chicago Park – 304.5 pounds 4th: $75 – Julia Heiselman, Auburn – 88 pounds 5th: $50 – Clara Heer, Roseville – 86 pounds ---------- Scarecrow contest 1st: $1,000 – Kurt Barton’s “Shooting Geese in Technicolor”(also People’s Choice winner – $1,000) 2nd: $800 – Ellen Copeland’s “Witches Kitchen” 3rd: $700 – Trish Schreiber’s “Queen of Barks” 4th: $500 – Karen Daley 5th: Nathan Barton’s Soda Crowman Youth: $200 – Antonia Microw-Schmitt Group: $100 – Sierra Preschool - “Royal Reader” $100 – Skyridge Discovery Lab