Gary Volkenand Regains ‘Pumpkin King’ Title With 505 lb. Entry at Fair

Jacob Garrett took top honors in the watermelon category of the Fentress County Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest last week with this 139-pound giant.

Gary Volkenand shows off his 505-pound entry which took top honors in this year’s Fentress County Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest held last week.

After an absence of two years, Fentress County’s premiere pumpkin grower Gary Volkenand regained  his title as Fentress County Fair Pumpkin King with a 505-lb. entry which was weighed in on Wednesday, August 19 at the 27th Annual Giant Pumpkin Contest.

The growers said that the wet weather this year had caused problems in the formation of the giant pumpkins, with most reporting beautiful green vines, but having problems with the pumpkins setting on the vine.

The Gary Volkenand family dominated the Fentress County Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest for ten years until two years ago when the Wade and Kevin Garrett families of Mt. Helen emerged with the top entries for the the past two years, with Jacob Garrett weighing a Fentress County Fair record of 870 lbs. last year.

This year, there were only three entries, with Volkenand’s 505-lb. entry besting Andrew Garrett’s 350-pound entry, with Greg Savage placing third with a 263-pound entry.

Volkenand also took top honors in the Green Squash category with a 191-lb. entry.

Jacob Garrett had the only entry in the Watermelon category, but it was a very nice one, weighing in at 139 pounds.

Jacob Garrett took top honors in the watermelon category of the Fentress County Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest last week with this 139-pound giant.

Jacob Garrett took top honors in the watermelon category of the Fentress County Fair Giant Pumpkin Contest last week with this 139-pound giant.

The Giant Pumpkin Contest is sponsored annually by the Fentress County Fair Association and the Fentress County Farm Bureau.

This year’s committee consists of Dwayn Delk, Larry Cooper, and Gary Volkenand, who expressed their appreciation to Ralph Smith and Fentress Farmers Co-Op for providing the scales, tractor and lift for the event.

The Giant Pumpkin Contest began in 1989 with the late Jim Asberry weighing in — at that time– what was considered to be a giant weighing 193 pounds.

The weight went up 100 pounds the next year, as George Killgore weighed in a 293-pound entry in 1990.

Then in 1991, Jim Asberry grew a state-record 716-1/2-lb. giant, which proved to be a catalyst to give birth to the Allardt Great Pumpkin Festival, which has been held annually since that time the first Saturday in October.

Asberry’s 1991 entry held up as the Fentress County Fair record until last year.

Read the rest of the story in this weeks Fentress Courier.