Giant pumpkin festival taking shape

The eighth-annual Rainy River Valley Giant Pumpkin Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 28 at Hannam Park in Rainy River.
Who will go home with the coveted “most attractive pumpkin” prize? Certainly not Alberton reeve and pumpkin aficionado John Milling.
“Mine just developed a crack in it,” he said, with the pain obviously in his face. “It’s big, though.”
Milling has been addicted to babying his pumpkin since the 2000 festival, where he and his 366-pound entry captured the prize for both top rookie and most attractive pumpkin.
First prize for the heaviest pumpkin is $1,000 (along with the “Golden Hoe” trophy), with second place earning $500 and third place $100. Other prizes up for grabs include top rookie, smallest pumpkin, hidden weight, and best decorated pumpkin.
Organizers also will hold a potluck dinner and a pumpkin seed-spitting contest. Local notables invited to participate in the latter include NDP leader and MPP Howard Hampton, Fort Frances Mayor Glenn Witherspoon, and Emo Reeve Russ Fortier.
Last year’s festival attracted 500 people, with almost 50 pumpkins entered in the weight category. The winner was Levi Marken of Baudette, Mn. with a 659-pound gourd.
Contestants generally come from Ontario and Minnesota. Two years ago, the contest even attracted someone from Edmonton.
For more information on the festival, contact Eltjo Wiersema at 852-4405.