All County, All the Time Since 2010 MAKE THIS YOUR PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY HOME...PAGE!  Saturday, December 2nd, 2023

Sun breaks through for a ‘gourd’ time at Wellington Pumpkinfest

By Olivia Timm
Though the day started out rainy, windy and dreary, the sun peeked through just as the largest pumpkin was weighed at the 25th annual Prince Edward County Pumpkinfest in Wellington.

Crowds lined Wellington Main Street Saturday to enjoy the morning’s parade, and then to explore food vendors, lawn games, a craft show, kids zone and more downtown.

Karen and Fiona Woolley of Critter Visits, hold Pongo the goat and Lyra the rabbit.

Leila and Amber play in the pumpkin patch during their first Pumpkinfest

Over at the Lehigh Arena, trucks piled into the parking lot preparing for the weigh in of giant pumpkins, squash, gourds, tomatoes, corn, watermelon, sunflowers and cabbages.

Folks took in the array of colours and sizes of the large gourds as volunteers from the Rotary Club of Wellington carefully hoisted them from the parking lot onto the scale.

The largest pumpkin this year was grown by Norm Kyle, of Ennismore, (above) which weighed in at 1,658.5 pounds.

“It’s tremendous,” Kyle said, noting he beat his previous record of 1,490 pounds. “I was hoping to just get a couple more hundred pounds on it.”

Kyle planted his triumphant pumpkin on April 26, and mentioned his use of Bryson seeds which have always done well for him as he has been growing giant pumpkins for about 10 years.

The Bryson seeds are from Jim and Kelsey Bryson who weighed a world record giant pumpkin in Wellington in 2011 with their 1,818.5 entry.

“I guess you could almost call this pumpkin ‘The Big Stem,” he laughed. Kyle plans to take his winner on the road to the Royal Winter Fair this year.

Kyle also brought the festival’s second biggest field pumpkin, third biggest rutabaga; the tallest sunflower and the biggest tomato. (See full results below).

While a North American giant pumpkin record was set Oct. 11 in California at 2,560 pounds, the world record, according to the Guinness World Records, remains with a 2021 entry weighing 2,703 pounds in Italy.

John Vincent with his third place 1,246 pound giant pumpkin

Pumpkinfest organizer, John Vincent, said that though some years see 30 or more pumpkins, this year still had a larger turnout than last, which saw a decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vincent, along with his wife Sue, have been running the weigh-off portion of the event for about 10 years, and they note the growing season was very good this year.

“Pumpkins like the heat and dry climate. They also need moisture, but you can control that,” he explained. “The first 30 days are critical.”

He added growers can often predict how large their product will become, and that days 14 – 42 have a really steep curve.

“If that pumpkin is hitting those 50 pound numbers at day 35, you know you’ve got something going on,” Vincent said.

Bob Greer received a certificate of recognition from Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson

During the event, Bob Greer received a certificate of recognition from Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson, for his dedication and contribution to the community.

Greer is the grandson of the late Bill Greer, who is known in the community for beginning the Pumpkinfest tradition in 1997 after his successful weigh-in of the first pumpkin in the world to top the scale at 1,006 pounds, the year prior. It was one of two pumpkins that broke the 1,000 pound barrier for the first time in the history of giant pumpkin growing

“Thank you for your dedication and valuable contribution to our community,” said Ferguson. “Pumpkinfest brings our community together in friendly competition – a time to have fun, light up the faces of young and old alike, and has created many fond memories over the years.”

Vincent echoed the sentiment.

“Bob has been the driving force behind this thing for as long as I’ve been involved, and I got involved in 2006,” he said. “For so many years, he has done so much for this festival. I certainly appreciate it myself and everybody else does, too.”

Greer has decided to step down from his involvement in Pumpkinfest, and current Wellington councillor and this year’s recreation committee chair, Mike Harper, is stepping in.

Harper said that though they are big shoes to fill, he hopes to make Greer proud. Harper read aloud a letter provided by Greer’s daughter, Alexandra.

“Pumpkinfest is the legacy of our great-grandfather Bill Greer and his good friend Arnold Vader. It all started with their love for farming and Grandpa’s dedication to serve his community. Bill worked and operated our family farm, where dad helped out learning not only the ins and outs of farming, but also what dad affectionately referred to as ‘Life according to Bill.’

“One of these life lessons includes the importance of giving back to your community. Wellington and Prince Edward County have evolved greatly, but there is still a great sense of community pride. Dad embodies that by working hard every year to make Pumpkinfest enjoyable for young families.”

Giant Pumpkin Results
Norm Kyle, Ennismore 1658.5 lbs
Dave Pitura, Merrickville 1439.5 lbs
John Vincent, Picton 1246 lbs
Nick Body, Martintown 1168 lbs
Dan Sweet, Napanee 1085.5 lbs
Jim Reid, Martintown 1073.5 lbs
Shannon Desjardins, Milford 673.5 lbs
Issac Carrins and Jeff, Picton 608 lbs
Dean Hickey, Godfrey 578 lbs
Michaela Carrins and Emily Norton 507 lbs
Matt Kerby, Ivanhoe, 398.5 lbs

Giant Squash Results
Harley Sproule, Ormstown, QC. 1332 lbs

Giant Field Pumpkin
James Reid, Martintown 88lbs
Norm Kyle, Ennismore, 55 lbs
Shannon Desjardin, Milford 26 lbs

Giant Tomato
Norm Kyle, Ennismore 4.02 lbs
Noah and Brian DeVisser, Johnston, 3.96 lbs

Giant Watermelon
Dan Sweet, Napanee 92.5 lbs

Tall Sunflower
Norm Kyle, Ennismore 14’4.5″
James Reid, Martintown 14’10”
Dan Sweet, Napanee 11″7″

Largest Sunflower Head
Dan Sweet, Napanee 19.25″

Giant Cabbage
Shannon Desjardins Milford 10 lbs

Heaviest Bushell Gourd
Noah and Brian DeVisser, Johnstown, 201.5 lbs

Heaviest Rutabaga
James Reid, Martintown 67 lbs
Norm and Brian DeVisser 53 lbs
Norm Kyle, Ennismore 37.5 lbs

Giant Spanish Onion
Dan Sweet, Napanee 3.75 lbs

Tall Corn
Dan Sweet, Napanee 11’7.5″

Long Corn Cob
Dan Sweet, Napanee 14.5″

Heavy Carrot
Jim Reid, Martintown, ON.


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