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Nearly 2,500-pound pumpkin wins Massachusetts fair, sets new record

After growing giant pumpkins for the past 10 years, Jamie Graham got his first win at the Topsfield Fair with a large gourd his kids named Bear Swipe.
/ Source: TODAY

The Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts has crowned a new winner for its annual All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off.

On Friday, Sept. 30, Jamie Graham — a 37-year-old Tyngsboro man — showed friends and family what a little hard work can do when he brought a 2,480-pound pumpkin to the fair and won the entire contest. Graham's kids dubbed the gigantic gourd Bear Swipe because their dad has had a few problems with black bears clawing at his pumpkins in the past.

"It was such a surreal moment," Graham — who goes by @bigpumpki on TikTok — told TODAY of his victory. "Intense, emotional and amazing. It was a really cool experience."

After growing giant pumpkins for the past 10 years, this was the first time that Graham has ever won first place. He took home an $8,500 cash prize and the respect from his friend Alex Noel, who set the previous record of 2,294.5 pounds at last year's fair.

Jamie Graham and Bear Swipe.
Jamie Graham and Bear Swipe. Jamie Graham

However, this time around, Noel came in second place with a pumpkin weighing 2,234 pounds.

Graham admits that it was a really close call.

“It was a real nail-biter at the end," he said.

Thankfully, there were no hard feelings between them. Graham said that Noel has supported his giant pumpkin journey and was "really happy" for him when he won.

In fact, the two are so close that Noel even had a special tripod made for Graham so that he could carry Bear Swipe all the way to the fair.

“It was a real nail-biter at the end."
“It was a real nail-biter at the end." Alycia Peters

However, Graham doesn't believe he'll win again next year.

"I'm sure he'll beat me," Graham said of Noel. "He's a really good grower. He's done it a lot longer than I have."

Bear Swipe will be on display at the fair for the next few days. It gives him a little bit of time to decide what to do with his winning pumpkin.

"I'm not sure what I'll do with it afterward," he said after growing attached to Bear Swipe.

But there is one thing that Graham has in mind, and it's pretty festive.

"I think I want to turn it into a jack-o’-lantern," he said.

As for the seeds, Graham plans on donating them to various pumpkin clubs and other giant pumpkin growers in his community.

"I hope that lots of people can have those seeds and they can grow them next year," he said. "Hopefully, they'll grow into a big pumpkin for someone or for me again. I'll probably grow it next year as well."