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New pumpkin perches on Meyer's Farm Market silo

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JAMES P. LEUTE
June 29, 2011
— It took longer than expected—thanks to some last-minute eye surgery—but a massive fiberglass pumpkin is once again smiling from its perch atop a 65-foot silo at Meyer’s Farm Market north of Janesville.

The market lost its signature pumpkin in August when heavy winds lifted it off the silo and sent it crashing into pieces in a nearby pumpkin patch.


Bryan Meyer vowed to replace the pumpkin, which had become an icon for his family’s business and a landmark for travelers on Interstate 90/39 since it was installed in 2004.


Insurance covered most of the replacement cost for the new gourd, which is 22 feet wide, 14 feet high and tipped the digital scale of the crane doing the heavy lifting at more than 2,000 pounds.


It was delivered about three weeks ago in two pieces and was bolted together before Tuesday’s lift, which was supposed to take about 90 minutes.


But the pumpkin arrived at Meyer’s with solid black eyes, not the requested cutouts for Plexiglas eyeballs that someday could be lighted.


That required more than three hours of onsite work by the manufacturer—Sparta-based Fiberglass Animals, Shapes and Trademarks Corp.


Onlookers gathered Tuesday along Milton-Harmony Townline Road waiting for the new pumpkin to be installed.


With the eye work complete, Meyer climbed atop the pumpkin for the ride to the top. In the meantime, family friend Jerry Holmes scampered up the silo’s wall to guide the pumpkin into place.


Meyer communicated by cell phone with family members on the ground, who reviewed a picture of the previous pumpkin for precise positioning.


After a few moves to the right, then to the left, the Helgesen Crane Service operator lowered the pumpkin into position, then dropped Meyer to terra firma.


“Much scarier coming down,” he said. “Going up, I was standing on something.”


Meyer said there was never any question whether he would replace the pumpkin.


“Since last August, I’ve been asked about it about 1,000 times,” he said. “It’s become so much our logo that we had to replace it.”


This time, four cables and four 10-foot metal legs will secure the pumpkin.


“It’s exactly what we expected, although it took a little longer,” Meyer said as he looked up to the pumpkin he’d summited just minutes before. “It looks just as nice as we anticipated.”


Meyer said he’ll probably have a contest to name the pumpkin.


As for the shattered remains of the previous pumpkin? They still sit in piles off to the side.


“Who knows, I might sell them as souvenirs,” he said. “Lots of people have been asking about them.”



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