7th Giant Pumpkin Festival

The 7th annual Giant Pumpkin Festival takes place in Heidelberg on 24 & 25 March 2017 and Shoprite Checkers has again supplied the sixty-five entrants with special hand-selected pumpkin seeds imported from Canada.   

Especially bred for size, Dill’s Atlantic Giant is the grand-daddy of giant pumpkins. Non-treated or genetically modified in any way, these seeds are the variety of choice for those wishing to produce pumpkins in excess of 300kg.

“Producing a giant pumpkin requires talent, hard work and of course a bit of luck,” explains Dr Johan van Deventer, General Manager at Freshmark (Shoprite’s fruit and vegetable procurement and distribution arm).

“A planting area of between 40m² and 60m² in full sun is required. Once successfully germinated, the pumpkin plant constantly needs to be protected from overexposure to heat and wind. When watering the plant, it is important to try and keep the leaves dry. Last but certainly not least, guarding a giant pumpkin from porcupines and the like can be quite the challenge. So it’s no surprise that some producers have been known to sleep next to their pumpkins!”

Louwrens van Deventer was crowned the Giant Pumpkin Champion in 2016 with a pumpkin weighing 373kg, whilst Pinkie Swart won in both 2015 and 2014. Prize money is sponsored by Shoprite Checkers and additional prizes are also awarded for the smallest, prettiest and ugliest pumpkins.

Heidelberg’s annual Giant Pumpkin Festival is a community initiative and all proceeds are donated to the local schools and old age home. Additional activities at the festival include an MTB race, 35km trail run, golf day and bowls competition. There will also be pumpkin carving and pumpkin throwing competitions, which promises to be lots of fun for both young and old.