Introduction

The Giant Pumpkin Festival will take place in Heidelberg, WC, on the 27th February 2015. The festival will include the iconic giant pumpkin competition; youth focused activities throughout the day, a golf competition, a bowls competition, a giant pumpkin pie, pumpkin beer, camping, an ox braai and live local music and a dance.

The core of the Giant Pumpkin Festival is the pumpkin competition and the aim is to grow the festival from the current 600 visitors to at least 1000 visitors. The 2016 event will see further activities with the addition of a mountain bike race. The race will be combined with the launch of a new permanent cross-country track for the youth in Heidelberg and a new trail center: the Grootvadersbosch Conservancy Trail network.

The Giant Pumpkin Festival has been running since 2010, and has seen annual growth rates in participation of over 57%. Most significantly, the 2015 event saw a 200% increase in participation from 2014, with over 600 people attending, mostly from the local community. This growth was attributed to the addition of new activities, such as a golf day, and the input of a strong community-led organizing committee.

Giving back to the Community

The Giant Pumpkin Festival provides an opportunity for you to invest in activities that will give back to the communities in which it operates. Sponsorship of the event will have lasting impact in the area through the creation of a permanent cross country mountain bike track built to empower the local youth. The sponsorship of BMX bikes as prizes will show your commitment to the youth and the enrichment of the lives of less privileged children.

The mountain bike race will empower women by being the first event to offer greater prize money in the female categories than in the male.

The event will raise funds for local charities. The funds raised through ticket sales will be distributed to meet two specific needs in the community: 1) the Heidelberg old age home to assist with the much needed upgrade of facilitates which will improve the living conditions of senior citizens and assist the schools to launch a local cycling program for under privileged youth.

The Festival

The Festival will take place on the showgrounds just outside of the center of Heidelberg. The showgrounds are used for several events such as agricultural shows, dance evenings, oxbraais and other community events. There is adequate space for parking, tents, stalls, race village, a hall for dancing, kitchens and ablutions.

During the day there will be events for kids such as pumpkin carving, pumpkin throwing, jumping castle, pumpkin shooting and more. A campsite will be available at the showgrounds for the Friday and Saturday nights and local accommodation options will be promoted. The ox braai will be started on Friday night to kick off the festival while we welcome the campers and register the racers.

The Pumpkin Competition

The heart of the Giant Pumpkin Festival is the weighing of the largest pumpkins which is a favorite for the whole family. This competition brings a farming community together and allows any passionate grower to show his/her skills.

Growers enter the competition by buying selected seeds and planting them in carefully prepared soil. Each grower has his/her own secret growing methods which sparks speculation and anticipation leading up to the event. The result is an exciting and tightly contested competition between growers from the region around Heidelberg and the whole of the Western Cape. The pumpkins are delivered to the festival on the day, offloaded by forklift and lined up for viewing on the festival grounds. When the pumpkin becomes too large, helping hands are all around to get the big boy to the competition!

The pumpkins are rated by weight and judged on various categories, including looks and color. Additional sponsorship will allow for new categories such as a youth category, a female grower category and a category for pumpkins that look most like their growers.
In 2014, Pinkie Swart from Heidelberg, the current South African record holder, was once again crowned the Giant Pumpkin Champion with his 483,6 kg pumpkin, a mere 13,5 kg short of his previous South African record of 497,5 kg.