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Island's giant pumpkins congregate in Coupeville

"Jan Coffman, Island County 4-H director, adjusts the stem on human pumpkin Gabby Waller, 14, of Clinton, who was drumming up business for the Colonial Critters 4-H Club pumpkin sale.Jim Larsen/staff photoCoupeville's Harvestfest on Saturday attracted plenty of pumpkins as well as people who were curious to see who would win the fifth annual Whidbey Island Giant Pumpkin contest.Dozens of pumpkins from throughout the island lined the lawns outside the high school gym, with hopeful owners discreetly sizing up each other's entries. All hopes of winning disappeared, however, when the Bailey family truck pulled up.The flatbed truck was burdened down by several monstrous pumpkins, and it didn't take a scale to tell people that the game was up -- the Baileys obviously know how to grow giant pumpkins.The winner of the largest pumpkin in the adult division was Bob Bailey Jr. of Coupeville, with a massive 454-pound pumpkin. Contest director Lee Roof finished second with a respectable 412-pounder, while Bob Bailey Sr. came in third with a 158-pound entry.The Baileys also dominated the junior division, with Anna Bailey's 215-pounder taking first prize. Second and third went to Peter Dwersteg, with 161- and 152-pound entries. He also won the ugliest giant pumpkin contest, while prettiest pumpkin honors went to Sam and Michael Vier of Coupeville.Roof said plans are already under way for the sixth annual contest next fall. Anyone interested in obtaining the special Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds for next year, or anyone needing other information, should call Lee Roof at 360-675-5687.Coupeville also attracted many 4-H Club members on Saturday who were selling pumpkins to the mob of people attracted by both the Harvestfest and Uniquely Whidbey Trade Fair. Jan Coffman, county 4-H director, helped Gabby Waller and others don a pumpkin costume to boost sales. Waller looked a bit uncomfortable in her role as a human pumpkin, but the 14-year-old 4-H'er from Clinton did her job in good spirits. I'm helping sell the pumpkins for Colonial 4-H Critters, she said, as Coffman adjusted the stem on her head. Waller's club specializes in raising heritage livestock.With Halloween approaching fast, 4-H pumpkins are available outside many stores on Whidbey Island. "

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