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Kawartha Lakes growers claim Canada’s largest giant pumpkin for third straight year

Phil and Jane Hunt and Chris Lyons have claimed Canada's largest pumpkin for 2020. Hunt family

Canada’s largest giant pumpkin for the third-straight year belongs to growers in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

Tipping the scales at 1,939.5 pounds, the giant pumpkin grown by Phil and Jane Hunt of Cameron, Ont., and by veteran grower Chris Lyons, of Toronto, was the winning entry at Port Elgin Pumpkinfest earlier this month, setting a new festival record. The runner-up was a 1,897-pound pumpkin from John Mataea of Breslau, Ont.

Phil said they were waiting for the results of this past weekend’s Prince Edward Pumpkinfest in Wellington, Ont., to see where their giant gourd stood among entries in 2020.

Read more: A coronavirus Halloween has some parents spooked. Here’s how to keep it safe

The largest pumpkin entry at the festival in Prince Edward was over 1,600 pounds, Hunt said.

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“We have strived to do the best we can every year and being Canadian champions again is a great feeling of accomplishment,” Hunt told Global News Peterborough.

With the win, the Hunts now have three-straight Canadian growing titles, including their Canadian record 1,959-pound gourd in 2018 and their 2019 entry, which weighed 1,814 pounds.

“We worked hard to try to break the record,” said Hunt. “Even though we came up short, getting a Port Elgin site record is huge.”

The Hunts and Lyons’ pumpkin earned them $3,000 at the Port Elgin competition. The giant gourd is currently featured on the front lawn of their property on Hwy. 35 about 1.5 kilometres north of Cameron, approximately 13 kilometres north of Lindsay.

Hunt said Lyons recently had shoulder surgery so he decided to team with the Hunts on a pumpkin grown at the Hunts’ farm.

The Hunts have been growing giant pumpkins since 1992 and also held the Canadian record in 2009 at 1,678 pounds.

“After an unusual year we had a different kind of weigh off,” Lyons said in an event release, referring to social distancing and wearing masks at the event. “But we really appreciate that Pumpkinfest went forward with the weigh-off portion of their festival, and hope the street festival and public can return next year.”

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See the winning weigh-in at the Port Elgin Pumpkinfest from  1:58:00 – 2:04:00 mark of this video: 

Carving chef Andrew Munro will once again carve the winning pumpkin prior to Halloween. It’s not known yet what design he will do, said Hunt.

Hunt is encouraging people to visit the property to get photos of their winning pumpkin.

“We encourage people to stop by for pictures with their family, but please practise social distancing if others are there at the same time,” he said last week.

Hunt noted that once carved, the pumpkin’s seeds are saved and shared with other growers.

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“The pumpkin is given to local farmers after Halloween to feed their sheep,” he said.

Hunt also had a second entry which weighed 1,597 pounds.

The other pumpkin weighing nearly 1,600 pounds. Phil Hunt

In 2018 a pumpkin grown in Calgary unofficially weighed 2,255 pounds, however, it was disqualified from competition because it had contained a hole.

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