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Participants and onlookers marvel at massive gourds during the Pumpkin Weigh-Off 2017

By Aimee Alden WINDSOR, N.S. - With the sun shining and the buzz of the crowd filling the air, the 33rd Annual Pumpkin Weigh-off took place at the Dill Family Farm on Sept. 30 in Windsor.

Beautifully displayed pumpkins of various sizes and colour were scattered around the farm, leading the way to the weigh-off taking place at the top of the hill.

Cheers could be heard in the distance as the weights of the giant gourds were announced to the dozens of people gathered in the bleachers.

Talk of a record breaking pumpkin in this year’s competition kept spirits high as they worked their way up from the smallest gourds to the biggest.

Visitors kept their eyes on the biggest pumpkin yet to be weighed in as the tractor struggled to pick it up.

With some fancy maneuvering and the help of five strong men, the giant gourd was finally in place on the scale.

Having come all the way from Charlottetown, P.E.I., Eddy Shaw was all smiles as they announced his pumpkin’s weight of 1624 pounds.

Though he didn’t beat the Atlantic record of 1,813 pounds, set by Bill and Dawn Northrup of Sussex, New Brunswick in 2013, he did set a new P.E.I. record.

Second place went to Fred Ansems, of North Alton, with an impressive weight of 1,244 pounds, Jeff Reid, from Waterville, came in third with a pumpkin weighing 1,180 pounds.

With the heaviest pumpkin category being the highlight of the weigh-off, several other categories interested and delighted onlookers at the farm.

A new Atlantic Canadian record was set by Gerard Ansems, from Steam Mill, Nova Scotia for the heaviest squash.

His weighed in at 1,183 pounds, followed by Fred Ansems, with a 1,024 pound squash, and Shirley Ansems’ entry, also from Steam Mill, weighing in at 793 pounds.

The heaviest field pumpkin went to Alan Aten, from Springvale, P.E.I., with a weight of 140 pounds, while Santos Treminio, from Brooklyn, won first place for the heaviest watermelon, weighing 110 pounds.

At the end of the festivities at Dill Family Farm, awards and prizes were handed out to various growers and contestants.

The Howard Dill Award, which is given to the grower of the prettiest, most symmetric, orange coloured pumpkin, is one of the highest honours a grower can receive.

This year, Danny Dill was a first time recipient to receive the award named after his father.

The Hilda Dill Award, for the most perfect pumpkin, went to Bill Smeltzer, from New Minas, and the Dill Family Choice Award was presented to Eddy Shaw, of Charlottetown, P.E.I.

With another growing season over, talk has moved to the 19th Annual Pumpkin Regatta taking place on Oct. 15 at Lake Pisiquid in Windsor.

The excitement of the next event was apparent as a last glance around the farm showed people smiling and laughing and making plans for their giant vessels, as well as their intentions on paddling across the lake for a first place finish.

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