Valley Nursery ushers in the first day of fall

POULSBO — Valley Nursery waved goodbye to summer in style last weekend as it hosted its 16th annual Fall Festival.

The festival of agriculture and family-friendly fun drew hundreds of people to enjoy the sun and the sights. There were games and entertainment for the kids, armfuls of multi-colored Dahlias to bring home, old time fiddle tunes and a chance to marvel over the handiwork of local farmers.

Awards were given for the biggest zucchini, heaviest tomato and largest sunflower head just to name a few. For many, their methods of growing are strictly guarded secrets, but for others it’s just a matter of luck. When asked how he grew his 170.5-inch sunflower, which won the tallest sunflower contest, Andrew Coulson shrugged.

“Radiation,” he quipped, then added, “I dunno, I just watered it.”

But the biggest — no pun intended — crowd pleaser was the giant pumpkin contest.

This year there were 60 entries in the Kitsap County exclusive battle that begins with $1 giant pumpkin starts sold at the nursery each spring. Organizers eyeballed the largest 12 entries and at 3 p.m. on the dot, chairs and aisles were filled to watch the weigh-in for the grand champion.

Winning bragging rights for the next year was Mike Popp, Jr. with a 214-pound monster of a gourd. But the sweetest victory of all may be the bragging rights Popp has around the house for the next year as well. He beat out his dad’s 211.5 pounder for the win.

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