A special crane with a hanging scale had to be used to weigh this years winner of the Whonnock Giant Pumpkin contest.
The winning pumpkin weighed in at 197 kilograms and was grown by Trevor Halliday. Second place went to Bruce Gabara for his 111 kilogram gourd.
The second annual event took place on Sunday, Oct. 18, at Whonnock Lake where 26 competitors gathered to weigh their prized pumpkins and spectators came to watch.
Organizers noted that there was a maximum of 50 people who donned masks and kept socially distanced.
However the competition really began in early May when residents of Whonnock were invited to pick up a free giant pumpkin starter kit and encouraged to try to grow the biggest pumpkin.
Close to 200 people picked up a plant and started growing.
Last year, growing obstacles included the threat of being eaten by chickens and goats, said Pascale Shaw, one of the organizers of the annual event.
“We live in Whonnock and we have lots of farm animals out here, so we had a couple of pumpkins devoured by goats and a few pumpkins that got pecked by chickens,” explained Shaw.
This year slugs devoured pumpkin plants before they could even begin growing, Pascale noted. Many people lost their plants altogether.
“They were out very early in the contest,” said Shaw.
Lack of pollinators were another obstacle.
And right near the end of the contest there was also the threat of bears.
One contestant, said Shaw, put up an electric fence around their pumpkin because they did not want it destroyed before the weigh-in day.
“I’ve never heard of that before. It’s a serious contest,” chuckled Shaw.
Halliday and his wife Joanne were the winners last year with a 50 kilogram pumpkin.
The title of smallest pumpkin went to Laura Evans who weighed-in at only 14 grams.
Shaw was happy they could hold the event this year.
“It was a lot of fun. It’s a pretty crazy world out right now and I think there’s many people that are much more disturbed than we think by what’s happening,” said Shaw.
“Going out and tending to your pumpkin, it takes your mind off of everything that is going on in the world,” she added.
Local businesses donated prizes for the event and another donated the crane that did the weighing.
“This was a group effort,” said Shaw of the donors and volunteers who helped out.
Next years event is heating up already, noted Shaw.
Contestants are already vowing that the same man won’t be winning a third time in a row.