Updated: Feb 24, 2020
Contributed by Breanna Barker | Sophomore | Agricultural Communication
A beautiful October evening full of pumpkins, scarecrows, and leadership opportunities drew a large crowd last night to San Luis Obispo’s famous Thursday night Farmers Markets. The 14th annual Great Pumpkin & Scarecrow Contest held by Farm Supply has been a community staple for many years.
This event holds competitions for pumpkins with three categories – most beautiful, most unusual, and largest. Yet this year, there was a slight twist. Cal Poly’s own AGED 404 leadership class was invited to compete for a $300 cash prize with booths advocating on behalf of certain industries in agriculture. Judges were asked to look at certain criteria – participation, presentation, handouts, and booth design.The winning leadership team, named California Grown Almonds, was comprised of Victoria Reller, Brittney Thompson, Tanner Moore, and Christian Gomez. Other booths advocated about topics such as invasive pests, agricultural byproducts, dairies, and irrigation.
After learning of their victory, Gomez said, “I’m going to be 100% honest with you, I forgot there was a cash prize for this.” He went on to say that “it feels great being rewarded with something you didn’t even know you would be rewarded with. Simply doing your best because you are passionate about what you are doing.”
The booth was a display of how almond milk is made, alongside an interactive tally of how the public pronounces the word almond. Each person who neared the booth was asked whether they pronounce almond as “al-mond” or “am-mond.” Overwhelmingly, the public chose that they pronounce it as “al-mond.”
Other activities of the night included a photo booth put on by CAFES Ambassadors. The photo booth offered a large pumpkin carved out so that children could pose inside of it. The annual pumpkin contest provides a wonderful atmosphere for families, friends and students to go out and enjoy this lovely time of year. Public Relations Director for CAFES Ambassadors, Haley Olson, said “I love seeing all the families come back every year and taking pictures. We had multiple people come up and tell us that they have done this with their kids since they were babies.”