Skip to content

Fairlight hall packed for annual pumpkin fest

The annual Fairlight Great Pumpkin Weigh-in was a hit with the community and visitors from abroad as the village recreation hall was packed to the rafters for the much anticipated event.
Fairlight held its annual Great Pumpkin Weigh-in on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 9. Following a terrific dinner, the weigh-in of the pumpkins highlighted the winners of this year's challenge. From left, first place winner for 2010 with a pumpkin weighing 385 pounds was Brian Rowley, third place winner Bryson Melnick (154 ½ pounds,) second place winner Richard Kranyk (270 pounds,) fourth place Anna Marie McGonigal, fifth place Rose Russill, and last but not least, sixth place winner Sherri Metz.

The annual Fairlight Great Pumpkin Weigh-in was a hit with the community and visitors from abroad as the village recreation hall was packed to the rafters for the much anticipated event.

The signature event for the village, the Weigh-in is a celebration of harvest, autumn, and community.

Concern was initially high that the turnout might be low, due to the harvesting still underway, but as the shadows grew long in the early evening, more and more people flooded through the doors to take part in the celebration.

The evening began with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. and by 6:30 p.m., appetites were stoked for the steak dinner that is a traditional part of the festival.

Three grills were dedicated to cooking steaks outside the hall, with a fourth grilling up buns to go with the dinner.

"We're quite happy with the turnout this year," said event organizer Brad Metz. "We were worried that we might not see as many people because of the harvest, but as things turned out, it all went okay."

People happily milled about and visited with neighbours and friends as the dedicated grill-meisters made the effort to cook everyone's steaks to perfection.

"This year wasn't a great year for the pumpkins," said griller Barry Metz. "Pumpkins do like a lot of water, but they don't like it on the ground. They'll actually rot on the vine if it is too wet on the ground."

As the dinner wound down, the tables which had previously been stuffed with salads, potatoes and desserts rapidly becoming empty, the main event of the evening, the Great Pumpkin Weigh-in, got into gear.

The Weigh-in event actually starts in June every year, as different groups and individuals purchase in advance pumpkins from the people who have offered to grow one for the event.

This year, 15 growers were so sponsored to take part in the event.

When it came time to begin weighing the pumpkins however, the effects of the abnormally wet year became evident, with many of the pumpkins not making it to the event due to ground rot and other misadventures, as this poem, written by one of the growers, illustrates.

"There was a yearling from Mair; Who didn't really Care; He went through the gate; My pumpkins he ate; Don't you fear and don't you fret; This story isn't over yet; That yearling's a cheater; so it's off to the freezer; He'll never eat pumpkin again!"

The poem, crafted by grower Sandy Russell, was read aloud to the public by emcee Brad Metz, and was met with a wave of laughter from the group.

Despite the tough year, many pumpkins did manage to make the event though.

Huge gourds in beige, dun, and the traditional orange were man-handled into the hall and place on the scale for weighing.

Taking the title for the largest pumpkin this year was Brian Rowley, with his pumpkin weighing in at a healthy 385 pounds.

Second place went to the robust gourd grown by past champion and record holder Richard Kranyk, with a weight of 270 pounds.

Third place was taken by another past champion Bryson Melnick for his pumpkin, which weighted in at 154 pounds.

The annual Great Pumpkin Weigh-in is a fundraiser event which puts money into the Fairlight recreation board.

Board president Tyler Adamson was happy with the turnout this year, as well as the dinner.

"We're really happy with the support we had this year from people in the community and other communities," Adamson said. "We have great support every year from Redvers area, as well as other communities."

"It definitely wasn't the best year for the pumpkins, and we were a little concerned by the fact we had to hold the event during harvest, but it all turned out in the end," Adamson said. "Everyone seemed to have a great time, and we managed to raise some money for the hall and to support some other endeavours."

"The volunteers were all great this year, and really deserve some recognition too," Adamson said. "Working together, we were able to put on another great event."

The Great Pumpkin Weigh-in started as a bet that had begun after a night of merriment among some community members, according to Barry Metz.

"We were winding down for the night when the topic came up about pumpkins, and how big they can grow," Barry said. "It kind of grew from there. It's amazing after all these years that such a little thing can start a tradition!"

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks