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Mar 2, 2012

Giant Pumpkin 2011

Thirty-six South African pumpkin experts will compete for the title of Giant Pumpkin Champion in the 5th Shoprite and Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition to be held at Fairbridge Mall in Brackenfell on 17 March 2012.

Members of the public are invited to join in the activities of the day that will include, 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.

Contests for pumpkin growers competing on size are very popular all over the world and the current world record, set in the USA in 2010, stands at a whopping 821 kilograms!

Freshmark, the Shoprite Group’s fresh fruit and vegetable procurement division, annually provides an opportunity for South African pumpkin growers to show off their talents with the Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Competition.

In South Africa, Drikus Kleinhans from Sasolburg currently holds the South African Record for Giant Pumpkins with his massive 379,5 kg pumpkin that also earned him the title of 2008 Shoprite Checkers Giant Pumpkin Champion. Johan du Plessis from Worcester was the 2009 Champion with a 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 2011 Johan returned, ready to challenge Drikus’s SA Record, but just missed it with his winning pumpkin of 349.2kg.

In August 2011, pumpkin growers acquired giant pumpkin seeds from Freshmark with which to enter the 2012 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 17 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 2012 will be announced.

The 2012 Giant Pumpkin Champion will walk away with R10 000, while the second and third place winners will receive cash prizes to the value of R5 000 and R2 000 respectively. Even those who do not manage to grow the biggest pumpkin might still walk away with a prize for the prettiest, most unique or most unusual looking pumpkin!

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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