Records fall at pumpkin festival

SMOKY LAKE, Alta. – Two festival records were broken at the 21st annual Great White North Pumpkin Fair and Weigh-Off held in Smoky Lake Oct. 3.

The previous pumpkin and squash records fell to new champions.

There were 28 entries in the pumpkin category this year, with weights starting at 60.8 pounds and working up.

The winner this year was long-time pumpkin grower John Lobay of Smoky Lake. His gigantic pumpkin checked in at 1,199.2 pounds.

That beat the previous festival record set by Don Crews of Lloydminster by 61.7 pounds.

The largest squash brought to this year’s pumpkin festival was also a site record breaker.

Alan Makarchuk of Taber, Alta., beat all five local growers with his 825.8 pound (374.5 kg) squash entry. The previous record was set back in 2003 when Trina Pearce of Moose Jaw, Sask., entered a 697.5 pound squash.

Crews of Lloydminster didn’t match his 2008 site record 177 pound watermelon, but his 103.6 pound melon was good enough for first place this year, topping the 11 entries.

Longest gourd

First place in the longest gourd entry went to Mary Lobay of Smoky Lake, who won with her 92.58 inch gourd.

Pumpkin fair organizer Barry Court, who was one of those who set up the original event 21 years ago, estimated that about 3,500 people watched the pumpkin weigh off this year, and said more than 5,000 people would have been in town during the day to take in the events.

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