Feb 25, 2009


More than 50 pumpkin growers will compete for the title of Giant Pumpkin Champion in the Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition to be held as part of the Boland Agricultural school’s Harvest Festival in Paarl on 7 March 2009. 

Drikus will be back to compete again this year, and word in the pumpkin patch is that his latest pumpkin is bound to amaze.

Contests for pumpkin growers competing on size are very popular all over the world. The world record was set in 2007 in Rhode Island, United States, with a pumpkin of 766 kilograms! In South Africa, Drikus Kleinhans  not only walked away with the title as Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Champion in 2008, but also broke the South African record for Giant Pumpkins with his massive 379,5 kg entry (seen on photo left) . Drikus will be back to compete again this year, and word in the pumpkin patch is that his latest pumpkin is bound to amaze. 

Besides being tasty, pumpkins are renowned for their nutritional value. They contain beta-carotene that lowers the risk of developing certain types of cancer and heart disease. Pumpkins are furthermore packed with antioxidants that help strengthen our immune system. They are high in potassium and possess a fair amount of Vitamin C and other nutrients, such as Niacin, Vitamin E, Calcium and Iron. Because pumpkins have a high water content, they are an ideal choice for a snack because they help to provide a food source of water and are very low in fat and calories. Beta-carotene also offers protection against the degenerative aspects of aging, as can be seen through the number of facial and anti-wrinkle creams that contain pumpkin today. 

In the Western Cape the period from September to April is peak time for pumpkin growing and to mark this, Shoprite Checkers is once again hosting its own competition to find the Giant Pumpkin Champion. 

The competition kicked off on 11 August 2008 when Shoprite Checkers invited pumpkin growers in the Western Cape who believed he or she could grow a pumpkin of phenomenal size to register for the competition. All the entrants received seeds and growers kits, and were urged to take good care of their pumpkin till judging day. That day has finally come and on Saturday 7 March 2009 all their hard work will come to fruition when the pumpkins are weighed and the winner, runner up and second runner up announced. 

The Giant Pumpkin Champion will walk away with R10 000. The second and third places will each receive cash prizes to the value of R5 000 and R2 000, respectively. 

Members of the public are invited to join in the activities of the day that will start at 8h00 at the Boland Agricultural Shool and promises to be a fun day for the whole family with entertainment by the Campbells. Activities at the Harvest Festival include a sumptious breakfast in the Boland Centre at R40 per person, tug of war challenges, pumkin throw and pumkinpit spit competitions, gimkana demonstrations, wine expo and a BMW Motorbike exhibit. 

Young and old will be able to cool off on an enormous 4-lane waterslide boasting a slide of more than 12 m that provides a thrilling 70km downglide at a 55 degree angle – not for the faint-hearted! The other three lanes of the waterslide cater for the less adventurous with heights ranging from 5 to 9 meters in height. 

Children can keep themselves busy with pumpkin painting and pumpkin latern carving, while mom and dad browse through the many stalls selling pumpkin fritters, fresh meat, fruit and vegetables, wine, jewellery, and much more. The day’s events will close with an auction in the marquee of a variety of the fresh produce, wine and other products available at the festival. 

Entrance fee to the Harvest Festival is R10 for adults and R5 for children. 

Who knows...maybe we will again see a new South African record set at the Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition this year!

Latest Articles