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980-Pound Pumpkin Lurks in Virginia

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The Corn Maze in The Plains, Va., now has another reason to visit... a big reason. Head about an hour west of downtown D.C., you'll find Priscilla, a 980-pound behemoth of a pumpkin.

    Owners Kate and Hub Knott purchased "her" -- since a pumpkin this large just has to have a personality -- from a local farmer. "Visitors come out and are in awe," Kate Knott said.

    By day, Priscilla hangs out in front of their corn maze. At night, they haul her inside via tractor. "A heavy frost can be a bit too much," Knott said. "She's just so huge we don't want anything to happen to her. It's safer and it's warmer" for thinner-skinned pumpkin breeds like Priscilla, an Atlantic white giant.

    The breed is known to be large (hey, "giant" is in the name)... but not this large. "As far as I know, it's the biggest in Virginia," Knott said.

    She said the farmer who grew Priscilla was aiming for a giant. Part of the technique involves pruning off all other pumpkins on the vine to focus all the plant's energy into one fruit.

    So what does Priscilla's fate hold, post-Halloween? Well, the breed is "not so much an eating pumpkin, just for sheer decoration," Knott said.

    If the temperature in the barn will allow it, "let's see how long we can keep her around," she said.

    The Corn Maze (4501 Old Tavern Rd. The Plains, Va.) is open Fridays and Saturdays in October, as well as Nov. 2-3, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You'll also find farm animals, a petting zoo, a tractor tire playground, pumpkin sling shots, and, obviously, a 980-pound pumpkin.

    General admission is $9 for adults, $8 for kids age 4-12 and free for kids age 3 and younger.