What happens when a 1,400-pound pumpkin falls from the sky? Just watch
LANCASTER, Minn. - Six months of hard work came crashing down for a man from northwestern Minnesota. He spent hours each day on the masterpiece, then watched it go splat in a matter of seconds.
It was one last cruise through downtown Lancaster for Charlie Bernstrom and his oversized pumpkin.
"I wanted to make sure it didn't fall off, made it this far," he said.
It started as a seed weighing just a few ounces back in April. Earlier this month at a large pumpkin contest it weighed in at 1,465 pounds.
So what did Bernstrom decide to do with his enormous gourd?
“Kind of a good ending to the season when you can have a lot of people come out and enjoy watching a pumpkin smash a van I guess,” he chuckled.
That's why people started showing up an hour early at the town football field to make sure they got a seat close to the splat zone.
One lucky person in the crowd of about 400 people would have the opportunity to pull the release to drop the 1,400 pound pumpkin on top of the minivan.
“It's a dollar for a ticket for a chance to pull the chord to drop the pumpkin,” said a young woman selling tickets to some eager fans.
All the money goes to the Kittson County Literacy Council. Their mission is to provide free books and literacy resources to children in the county.
“We understand the impact that literacy has on adulthood, and providing a solid foundation for a child,” said literacy council member Jeni Schwenzfeier.
The honor of bidding farewell to the 1,400-pound pumpkin went to 2-year-old Emmett Peterson.
After strategically making sure the minivan was in place for a direct hit, the rise of the 1,400-pound pumpkin began.
“It's kind of bittersweet that it's going to be done,” said Bernstrom as he looked up into the sky.
A total of 80 feet into the air.
“It's getting higher and higher,” commented Bernstrom with anticipation.
With hundreds watching and the cell phones out the countdown began.
But the pumpkin did not fall right away.
“We made it so it was going to be hard to come down so the wind wouldn't release the trigger, but when we were pulling there for a little bit it was like geez I hope it comes down now,” said Bernstrom.
Onlookers got an up close look at the destruction.
“It was a little louder than I thought it would be,” said one man.
“After the suspenseful wait, I didn't think it would smoosh the van as much as it did,” commented a woman.
“I didn't think it would be that hard down, it was really loud too,” said little girls.
“It like snapped in half, I saw like dust,” said a young boy.
“I thought it was wow!” said a lady.
“Did you break the car?” Matt Henson asked Emmett.
“No, pumpkin did,” he replied.
“All that hard work, but seeing all the people here enjoying it, it's a good ending to the season,” said Bernstrom.
With his huge pumpkin a smashing success this year Bernstrom is already looking ahead to next season hoping to grow a bigger pumpkin that will provide more of a bang.
“Hopefully I can get 1,700 or 1,800 pounds,” he said.
Johnson Oil donated the crane for the event.
The raffle raised $360 for the Kittson County Literacy Council.