The All New England Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off began at Topsfield Fair in 1984. That year the winning pumpkin, grown by Wayne Hackney of New Milford, CT, weighed 433 pounds followed by a $100 prize. In 1989 Hackney joined Hugh Wiberg and Tom Cone to form the New England Pumpkin Growers Association (NEGPGA) where Topsfield Fair had become the official weigh-off site. The weigh-off in Topsfield has received world-wide recognition and become so popular that a cut-off weight had to be instituted. All entries must now weigh at least 300 pounds. In 2008 the top 25 entries, out of 56, weighed more than 1,000 pounds!
In 2002 Charlie Houghton of New Boston, NH brought international recognition to the NEGPGA and to Topsfield when his 1,337.6 pound pumpkin was deemed the largest ever grown in the world and he was officially entered into the Guinness World Book of Records. He was awarded $5,000 by the Fair that year and his pumpkin was carved into what was deemed to be the world’s largest Jack O’Lantern at a New Hampshire garden Center. Since 2008, the giant pumpkin contest has grown significantly in size. At the 2018 fair Ron Wallace of Greene, RI set a new record with his 2,114 pound pumpkin!