Feb 24, 2011

Giant Pumpkin Logo

Twenty-two South African pumpkin experts will compete for the title of Giant Pumpkin Champion in the Shoprite and Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition to be held at Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell on 5 March 2011. 

Contests for pumpkin growers competing on size are very popular all over the world. A new world record was set last year in October with a gigantic pumpkin of 821 kilograms grown in Wisconsin, USA! 

Freshmark, the Shoprite Group’s fresh fruit and vegetable procurement division, annually provides an opportunity for South African pumpkin growers to show off their green fingers. In South Africa, Drikus Kleinhans from Sasolburg not only walked away with the title as Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Champion in 2008, but also set the current South African record for Giant Pumpkins – as officially recognized by the International Pumpkin Growers Association - with a massive 379,5 kg pumpkin. Johan du Plessis from Worcester was the 2009 Champion with his 295 kg pumpkin, and, even though he did not manage to break his own 2008 SA record, Drikus came back for another win in 2010 with a pumpkin weighing in at a whopping 320kg. 

In August 2010, 57 pumpkin growers acquired giant pumpkin seeds from Freshmark with which to enter the 2011 Giant Pumpkin Competition. Pumpkin growers can enter the competition with pumpkins grown from any seeds, but the seeds provided by Freshmark are special in that they are not genetically modified in any way, and originate from giant pumpkins from the North American Atlantic Giant variety weighing between 150 kilograms and 300 kilograms. 

Those pumpkin growers who were able to successfully cultivate giant pumpkins, will at long last face their competitors on 5 March. The enormous pumpkins – that are transported with great care in bakkies and truck from as far as Vereeniging this year – will be carefully weighed in at Fairbridge Mall where the Giant Pumpkin Champion for 2011 will be announced. 

The 2011 Giant Pumpkin Champion will walk away with R10 000. The second and third place winners will receive cash prizes to the value of R5 000 and R2 000 respectively. Even those who did not manage to grow the biggest pumpkin might still walk away with a prize for the prettiest, most unique or most unusual looking pumpkin! 

Members of the public are invited to join in the activities of the day at Fairbridge Mall that will include great entertainment by well-known artists Adam Tas and Monique brought to you by Huisgenoot-Tempo, tasty eats such as pumpkin fritters and pancakes for sale, as well as jumping castles and face-painting to keep the little ones busy. Well-known local artist, Rooies will be MC for the day. The pumpkin weigh-in starts at 9h00 in the parking lot of Fairbridge Mall, Cnr Old Paarl Road and Brackenfell Boulevard, Brackenfell. 

Rumour has it that at least one VERY big pumpkin is on its way to the competition…who knows...maybe we will see a new South African record set at the Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition this year!

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