The first Ryan Norlin GIANT Pumpkin Weigh-Off was held in Anamosa, Iowa on October 7, 1989 in a parking lot east of town. The competition was started by Tom Norlin, uncle of Ryan, who wished to dedicate the weigh-off to his nephew who had lost his life in a boating accident that June. Tom had been growing big pumpkins for 30 years, and Ryan had enjoyed helping his uncle in the patch.
In 1989 the winning pumpkin topped the scales at 252.8 lbs. and was grown by Bob Ruff of Garnavillo, Ia. Since then, the largest pumpkin weighed in Anamosa was 2,034 lbs. It was grown in 2015 by John Barlow of Gays Mills, WI.
In 1990 the Anamosa Chamber of Commerce organized the Anamosa Pumpkinfest to coincide with the Weigh-Off. It has since become Anamosa’s largest community event!
In 1993 Anamosa was named the Pumpkin Capital of Iowa by the Iowa Legislature. That same year, Tom and other area pumpkin growers organized the Midwest Pumpkin Growers Association which is affiliated with an international organization, the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth.