The Halloween spirit was alive and well at Thornhill Hall, on Sunday, when more than 70 pumpkin-loving participants came out to celebrate The Giant Pumpkin Contest.
“It was a huge success,” said event coordinator Betty von Hardenberg, pun intended. “This is our fourth year and people have grown to know each other. It’s about building community; there was a warm and inclusive feeling among the group.”
Blair Stanley’s pumpkin won first place, the grand daddy of them all – weighing a whopping 352 lbs – which he grew on the south slope of his Ruskin nursery.
The event was capped off with a potluck dinner with a sustainability bent.
“Everyone brought their own dishes and cutlery,” said von Hardenberg. “They cleaned up, took home their table settings, and donated the large pumpkins to the Ruskin Hall for their Halloween event, so there wasn’t any waste.”
Organization of the Thornhill pumpkin event began in March with a seed, and culminating seven months later in October with the contest and community day.
“In some situations, where people can’t grow a pumpkin because lack of space or light, they grow a vegetable and enter one of the other categories,” explained von Hardenberg.
As members of the community for 23 years, von Hardenberg and her husband, Klaus, organize the event for the enjoyment of family and community. In 2012, they received the volunteers of the year award from the Thornhill Community Association.
“Our non-profit event has helped build our community in a very nice way because it involves entire families,” said von Hardenberg. “We throw a barbecue in the summer so the contestants can meet each other before the fall event.”
The Giant Pumpkin Contest is commemorated in pictures, and enjoyed monthly, thanks to the annual Apple Calendar availabable through von Hardenberg and created by photographer Laurie Stott.
Winner list grows, too
Contest winners in other categories included: pumpkin roll: 1. Mike Mulcahy 2. Mike LasCalle 3. Jean Sunada; carving contest: Sabor Kalwij (junior), Teanne Bliss (teen), Joan Duncan (adult); best vegetable (tie): Mike & Hilde Gildersleeve (red cabbage) and Jean Sunada (carrot); best savoury: Susan Bliss (roasted pumpkin); best sweet: Joan Duncan (pumpkin cheesecake); biggest pumpkin: 2. Dan Dohogne, 187.5 lbs 3. Neil Dmitrieff, 142.5 lbs, and guess-the-weight of the biggest pumpkin: Steve Bentley, 341 lbs.
@ Copyright 2013