For years, Belgium has reigned supreme at European pumpkin championships, but an Italian won a title last month.

Stefano Cutrupi, a Tuscan farmer, won Italy's Lo Zuccone championship with his fruit weighing 1,226kg (2,703 pounds) on Sept. 26.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mario Vangeel, who grew a giant pumpkin in the Belgian town of Kasterlee this year, expects to bring the title back to Belgium.

He will compete in the world pumpkin championship in Ludwigsburg, Germany, on Oct. 10.

He is hoping to add more weight to his 1,020kg pumpkin before the competition begins. He also won the championship with a pumpkin weighing 1,013kg in 2019.

Vangeel said the secret of pumpkin's growth is heat, and he covers the growing fruits with a layer of blankets, along with heaters such that they stay warm at night.

Kasterlee is home to pumpkin porridge eaters, and every year pumpkin fever strikes in October. There are pumpkins and pumpkin events everywhere for the entire month, attracting local as well as international tourists.