This year’s Metz Pumpkin Growing contest is putting mayors and politicians head-to-head in friendly competition
WELLINGTON COUNTY – County mayors, councillors and politicians are competing to see who can grow the biggest pumpkin in the county by the end of September.
Metz, a small community north of Fergus, has hosted a pumpkin growing contest for over 15 years. The community hosts the weigh-off on the last Saturday in September which includes activities for children, a pot-uck dinner and a pumpkin cannon.
“It’s a chance for the folks in the area to get together, primarily to get to know your neighbours,” said Jim Coffey, event helper. “Sometimes it’s hard to make connections today.”
It’s also a way to put Metz on the map as their only event of the year.
Coffey said local vet Dr. Robert Wright started the event and supplies some participants with a starter pumpkin from his greenhouse. He said most pumpkins that went to local mayors and politicians came from Wright.
The Township of Wellington North gives a small grant yearly to help defer some costs and often members from their council will participate.
With the pandemic and fall fairs being cancelled, Coffey said they decided to ask other councillors to make it higher profile.
Mapleton mayor Gregg Davidson and Centre Wellington mayor Kelly Linton have joined in and have exchanged some tweets during planting. Davidson planted a pumpkin at Mapleton’s office while Linton told him to watch out for his secret weapons, enlisting the help of his father and father-in-law who are experienced farmers.
Coffey appreciates the friendly competitiveness and thinks it will bring more attention to the contest.
Senator Rob Black is also in the competition and Coffey said he has tricks up his sleeve as well.
“Senator Black himself is applying some secret ingredient to his pumpkin,” Coffey said. “I don’t know what it is but it seems to be doing very well.”
There is an adult and youth category for pumpkin contest but Coffey said they might put the politicians into a different category. There is no prize money involved, just bragging rights.
The pandemic leaves the weigh-off day as an unknown as the event draws upwards of 100 people each year.
There is a back-up plan ready incase the day can not proceed. Coffey said the townships have scales at the dumps that can be used and farmers have accredited scales as well. Participants will submit their data to Coffey and Wright.
“Not as much fun but we can still make some headway with it,” Coffey said.
The pumpkins aren’t the size of ones from Nova Scotia but the largest pumpkin Coffey can recall at the event was between 400 and 500 pounds. Coffey stressed that there’s still time for more participants to join and grow a record pumpkin.
“If they want to grow a 2,000 lb pumpkin that’d be great,” Coffey said.
Those interested in learning more can email Coffey to get started. Non-participants are still welcome at the weigh-off, Coffey said to bring a salad or pumpkin-flavoured dessert for the potluck.