A brisk and chilly autumn morning brought rural and urban folks together at the Roberta Bondar Pavilion, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario for the 3rd Annual Pumpkin Weigh-Off. With most pumpkins weighing in excess of 100 lbs., they were a hefty haul to the weighing station.
In total, 14 pumpkins were on display before the big weigh-in, giving everyone gathered a chance to check out this years’ contest entries. Youngsters were able to climb over hay bales, and get up close to experience the giant pumpkins. Chris Faulkner, Heritage Gardener with Ermitinger-Clergue National Historic Site, along with some of the young gardeners, were celebrated for their efforts in educating young growers to the beauty of the giant pumpkin. Their entry came straight from the heritage garden of the ECNHS, Junior Growers Programme, which runs throughout the growing season on the grounds of ‘The Old Stone House’.
The energy in the crowd was one of excitement as pumpkins were carefully rolled, and rocked on to tarps and blankets, carried gingerly by Jeff Marshall, of Marshall Farms, Dave Rector of Wilding Acres, and recruits to the weigh scale.
Tasty food was available courtesy of local restaurants, Dish, Cafe Natura, Shabby Motley, Sweet Designs & Embers. For a nominal cost, event attendees could tour the food area, and sample offerings from each restaurant. This proved to be a very popular addition to The Pumpkin Weigh-In. Ballots were issued to each person who purchased the food option for the categories, appetizers and desserts. The ballot tabulations were a challenge for Sharon Wigney Senior Reference Technician with the Sault Public Library while on site at The Bondar Pavilion. The northwest winds made for chilly fingers, trying to sort through the plentiful ballots.
The Sault Ste. Marie Public Library will be “posting the winning restaurants in each food category to their facebook page and website on Monday” shared Kevin Meraglia, Public Library Archivist technician and Pumpkin Weigh-off Coordinator. The official results from the Pumpkin Weigh-off will be posted there as well.
The Algoma Farmers Market, also held within the Bondar Pavilion, made for the perfect bountiful harvest autumn ambiance for the event. Terry & Susan Wilding, and family, Wilding Acres on Townline Rd. have been part of the heritage market for quite some time. In fact, “There have been Wilding descendents here (AFM) since the 1920’s.” adding “Algoma Farmers Market is considered a Heritage Market and dates back to 1901.” Susan and her family all agreed that this agricultural event is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all things home and farm grown. “This has been a super day. The kids seemed to really enjoy checking out the pumpkins.”
Check out the AFM’s Facebook page for vendor and event updates. Visit the Algoma Farmers Market this week for everything your Thanksgiving table will need.
Aurora Mackenzie, from Rock Lake in Plummer Township spoke to saultonline about the process and the importance of starting with good seeds for the giant pumpkins. Aurora and her family spent time at a Pumpkin Festival in Ohio last year and were able to find some seeds to try for her pumpkin patch. Well, there must be something in those seeds, and the soil and water around Rock Lake because Aurora’s pumpkin weighed in at 200lbs. Her father Ian McKenzie’s pumpkin topped out at 294 lbs, garnering 1st place in the adult division. Holy Pumpkin Pie Scarecrow.
Pumpkins, squash and gourds are members of the enormously diverse Cucurbitaceae family, which contains more than 100 genera and over 700 species. Various members of the genus Cucurbita are known as squash or gourds.
Special commendation goes to the heavy lifters at The 3rd Annual Pumpkin Weigh-Off. Not a single one was dropped. And that took some doing.
Visit the library’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SSMPL
The Pumpkin Weigh-Off Results
Junior Division. (in order as pumpkins were weighed)
Ermitinger (ECNHS) 83 lbs. (Old Stone House Junior Growers Programme)
Jorga Rector 103 lbs. (3rd place)
Gabriel Rector 155.5 lbs. (1st place)
Tiia & Ava Kerranen 87.5 lbs.
Hailey Trudeau 115 lbs. (2nd place)
Grant Friya 104 lbs.
Allana Stoor 116 lbs.
Kerry Sauve 164.5 lbs.
John Fortis 136.5 lbs.
John Fortis 161.5 lbs
Jeff Marshall 271.5 lbs. (2nd place)
Sheila Patrick 271 lbs. (3rd place)
Aurora MacKenzie 200 lbs.
Ian MacKenzie 294 lbs. (1st place)