Pumpkins have taken over the town of Smoky Lake.
This weekend marks the 30th annual Great White North Pumpkin Fair and Weigh-off, a special day devoted entirely to the orange fruit starting with how it’s grown to how it’s baked and served on a plate.
“30 years is a big milestone for us,” said Peggy Danyluk with the Smoky Lake Pumpkin Growers’ Association.
“The pumpkin fair started out as a minor competition between two brothers and two friends. As they got better at growing the gourds they decided to enter International competitions and now Smoky lake is the weigh off site for western Canada.”
People travel from across the province for a chance to show off the fruits of the summer growing season, bringing an assortment of pumpkins, squash and gourds to be judged at the fair.
The town’s population usually quadruples during the weekend festival.
“It brings so much into our town,” Danyluk added. “It puts us on the map and becomes a place that people will come through in the summertime – looking for pumpkin stuff.”
The pumpkin weight-off is the highlight of the day with a team of pumpkin experts poking, prodding and weighing the pumpkins to see which one would win the title.
A number of pumpkins tipped the scales at over 1,000 pounds.
This year, there were 46 entries in the weigh-off.
WATCH: Good gourd! This pumpkin broke a North American record
This year the biggest pumpkin weighed in at 2,255 pounds. It took Eddy Zaychkowsky 93 days to grow inside a climate controlled greenhouse. But it was disqualified because it has a hole in it.
“We had the world records in our sites and we easily would have had it if it wasn’t for the forest fires,” Zaychkowsky said. “The smoke blocked out the sunlight. It was gaining between 50 and 60 pounds a day.”
The day, of course, would not be complete without a pumpkin pie contest.
Growing these gigantic gourds is serious business, with winners taking home bragging rights and prizes worth more than $1,000.
The fair also includes a show-and-shine, food vendors and petting zoo.