Giant pumpkin kicks off fall festival season |

Giant pumpkin kicks off fall festival season

Andrew Pridgen
Appeal Staff Writer
BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Pictured from left are Matthew Hanzlik, Chris Hanzlik, Nathan Hanzlik, Mark Hanzlik and Brian Hanzlik. Chris planted pumpkin seeds in June and grew this 86-pound squash fruit.

He may not quite be ready for the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, where pumpkin growers from around the world weigh in their giant gourds (the record was set in 2005, when Washington State resident Joel Holland took top honors with a 1,229-pound behemoth pumpkin) – but he is ready to keep growing.

“I think this is the biggest pumpkin I’ve ever seen,” said Gardnerville resident Chris Hanzlik, 11, who grew an 86-pound gem in the Carson City front yard of his grandfather Mark Hanzlik’s home. “I started by planting six seeds – three grew and this was one of them.”

New to the business of giant pumpkin growing, Chris’ father, Brian, was surprised at how the super-sized squash grew.

“It seemed to just take all the food and water from the other pumpkins on the vine,” he said. “It’s like the others didn’t have a chance.”

Sunday morning, one day after the official start of fall, Chris cut his pumpkin from the vine in hopes some of its smaller counterparts would have a chance to grow before the weather turns any colder.

“I want to have a couple to carve,” he said.

Brothers Nathan, 6, and Matthew, 13, deferred any credit of the pumpkin’s rapid rise to their brother.

“Nope – this was his thing,” said Matthew. “Every time we came to visit, he would sit and look at his pumpkin. He’d get pretty P.O.’d if someone else tried to mess with it.”

A budding gardener, Chris said he looks forward to planting more next summer and is trying to talk his grandfather into building a green house.

“It’s good to watch things grow,” he said. “I’d like to grow some tomatoes – giant tomatoes.”

As for what he’s going to do next with his home-grown creation, Chris said he wants to take it to school – Scarselli Elementary – where he is in 6th grade.

“…If we can lift it and get it in the car,” Chris said. “I don’t even know if we can get it into the back yard.”

• Contact staff writer Andrew Pridgen at or 881-1219.