Feb 26, 2016


In the small town of Heidelberg Western Cape, just 2 and a half hours from Cape Town on the N2, big pumpkins are grown, so big that over the last few years the town has delivered many record breakers, including the current South African and African record. This coming weekend, 27 February at the Giant Pumpkin Festival in Heidelberg, more than thirty growers and fifty pumpkins will compete to be crowned the 2016 champion and try to break the current record!

In 2015, Pinkie Swart from Heidelberg, the South African record holder, was again crowned the Giant Pumpkin Champion with his 483,6 kg pumpkin, a mere 13,9 kg short of his previous South African record of 497,5 kg that he set in 2014.  Although still far from the 1054kg World Record that was set in October 2014 by Beni Meier (Switzerland), the South African competition has seen an immense increase in weight over the last few years.

Growers enter the competition by buying selected seeds and planting them in carefully prepared soil. Each grower has his/her own secret growing methods which spark speculation and anticipation leading up to the event. The result is an exciting and tightly contested competition between growers from as far afield as Upington and around Heidelberg and the whole of the Western Cape.

The Shoprite Group’s fresh fruit and vegetable procurement division, Freshmark, supports the competition under the Checkers supermarket brand and will ensure the champion walks away with R10 000, while the second and third place winners will receive cash prizes to the value of R5 000 and R2 500 respectively. Additional prizes will also be awarded for the smallest, prettiest and ugliest pumpkins.

The Heidelberg Pumpkin Festival is a one of a kind event with a variety of stalls and activities for young and old. In keeping with the strong community spirit of Heidelberg a significant financial contribution will be made to the Huis Zenobia Du Toit old age home and a 400kg Pumpkin Pie will also be baked of which a large slice will be donated to the local feeding scheme.

At this year’s event there will be a MTB XC Race, Golf Day and Bowls Competition. For more information on the Giant Pumpin Festival and competition visit the official website

2012    Henry du Plessis    390kg
2013    Johan du Plessis    417,5kg
2014    Pinkie Swart    497,5kg (Previous SA record)
2015    Pinkie Swart    483,6kg (13,9kg short of record

These three pumpkins were placed top in the 2015 Giant Pumpkin competition, with the winner weighing in on 483,6kg - just 13,9kg short of a world record.

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