For the 10th year in a row, giant pumpkins, along with a flock of cultivateurs and spectators, will terminate their annual migration at the big tent on Rainy River’s waterfront this Saturday (Sept. 18).
Although this year’s cool growing conditions have not been conducive to production of the monsters the size of past years, Eltjo Wiersema, president of the Giant Pumpkin Festival, still is expecting a pretty decent showing.
The weigh-in runs from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Getting an accurate estimate of what to expect each year is a near impossible chore, as giant pumpkin producers are very secretive about the progress of their pride and joy.
In fact, some of them are down right anti-social and will tell giant fibs about the progress of their crop. After all, there is a $1,000 grand prize up for grabs.
“Back off!” was the only comment this scribe could elicit from one surly grower, who brandished a sharpened hoe at me when I approached the patch with a camera.
Another attempt with a tele-photo lens was foiled by a smoke screen backed up by a huge orange tarp.
“You’ll just have to wait until Saturday the 18th,” snarled the grower, identified only as “True Value.”
Of course, giant pumpkins are not the only attraction at the festival. There are classes for the smallest, ugliest, most attractively decorated, furthest distance, youth class, and hidden weight in the pumpkin category.
Also featured are all sorts of veggie and plant displays. So root around the garden and bring in yours.
Yours truly, last year’s winner of the tallest sunflower, is trying for a repeat victory. I was accused of “dirty tricks” last year by publishing articles with “enhanced” photos of sunflowers that discouraged others from submitting their own giants.
“All’s fair in love and sunflowers,” I reply.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. Look for a special edition of the farmers’ market held at the big tent, a “guess the weight of the big pumpkin” contest, a pumpkin seed-spitting contest, plus face-painting and other activities for the kids.
A community potluck meal is hosted in the afternoon, so please bring a food dish (any type) and your own utensils, and join your neighbours for the feast.
To top it all off, there is a pumpkin pie and dessert contest, with the entries being eaten at the conclusion by the audience.
So come on down to the big tent on the waterfront in Rainy River this Saturday for a great day of community fun.