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PUMPKIN GROWERS AIM AT MAGIC NUMBER: 1,061

The 15th annual World Pumpkin Confederation weigh-off Saturday in Clarence will determine whether last year's 1,061-pound world-record giant was a fluke or can be surpassed.

In any event, the grower of the heaviest pumpkin at the event will win $5,000.

If it turns out to be this year's world heavyweight champion, $5,000 is tacked on.

And if it happens to exceed the confederation's 1,500-pound target, it will earn its grower an additional $40,000.

The weigh-off, from 9 a.m. to noon at 11199 Main St., will be the centerpiece of a Pumpkin Festival weekend today through Sunday.

Admission to the Pumpkin Festival will be $3, with children younger than 4 admitted free.

Kraft Foods is the official sponsor of this year's weigh-off, which was started 14 years ago by Ray Waterman, a Town of Collins restaurateur.

Whether a pumpkin will exceed the 1,061-pounder that Nathan and Paula Zehr of Lowville entered last year is questionable.

"We've had enough moisture, but not enough heat," said Waterman, who grew the largest several years ago. "But you never know."

Kraft Foods will give the Food Shuttle of Western New York a pumpkin pie and a tub of its Cool Whip topping for each pound of the winning pumpkin.

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