After several inquiries about the history of "Winkie" the giant light-up winking pumpkin on top of Anoka City Hall, we at the Anoka Municipal Utilities (AMU) thought we should share the story; especially since the linemen here, and our Master Electrician Steve Liekhus, take care of putting it up and keeping it glowing bright each year!
Creation of the Light-up Pumpkin
Back in 1972, the City of Blaine bet Anoka that it could produce a larger pumpkin than the City of Anoka could. Being Anoka is the Halloween Capital of the World, Anoka accepted this challenge. Mayor Elliot Perovich made sure Anoka had grown the biggest possible pumpkin, and on the day of the weigh-in challenge, Blaine council member Jim Gedney made sure they brought their biggest pumpkin - the one you see on top of City Hall!
Ron Lueck, a glass blower in Blaine "produced" the huge, 8 feet across, neon pumpkin and gifted it to Anoka. You can imagine the Mayor and Anoka Council members surprise and laughter! Of course the City of Anoka still wanted to be part of the production, so City Electrician Glen Gilbertson added the wink to the pumpkin, and hence came the pumpkin’s name "Winkie".
So thank you Blaine, for your fabulous gift - we are all still in awe and appreciation especially during this season! Also, a big thank you to the Anoka Historical Society who confirmed this story’s historical accuracy, and who continues to pass along the story’s commemorations to the people that journey along on their ghost walk tours each Halloween!