The weekend just been, the 2nd of April to be precise was The Great Pumpkin Carnival held at Hamilton Gardens.

In this post I talk about how the 2017 event went.

This was the 8th year we have run it, which when thinking back about it all is crazy. You can see previous posts about the 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 events.

When I first started growing I didn’t know what to do with the giant pumpkin I had, but I read in the local paper there was a competition being held at Hamilton Gardens, that very first one in 2010 was held out the back in the kitchen gardens, which is a cool location but not really the best place for a whole lot of pumpkins. This was before I had anything to do with the carnival, and before I even had the website properly up and running.

The first carnivals set of scales

Jenny is the person behind the carnival, and while she isn’t a giant pumpkin grower herself she had the idea and brought it to fruition.

After that first one the carnival was moved to where it has been ever since on the Rhododendron lawn. I started helping out and over the years things have gotten bigger and better for The Great Pumpkin Carnival.

Fast forward to this year, we are now set up as an Incorporated Society and a registered charity and I’m currently the Vice-President.

It’s a little bit of a change having a group you have to pass ideas through and get things voted for compared to just doing things and agreeing between 2 people, but it’s the right direction to go. If your own pumpkin event is getting bigger it could be something to look into as it can make it easier to apply for funding etc.

This year’s carnival was the busiest yet, probably a combination of the publicity we got leading up to the event, and having at the Hamilton Gardens where there are other events on at the same time as ours in different areas of the gardens.

But the giant pumpkins were down in numbers, something we think was down to the crappy growing season.

We tried a couple of new things, one being the drive through area to drop pumpkins off, this worked really well for us and will be something we do again next year.

Current champion of the giant pumpkins around here Tim Harris had 2 good looking pumpkins this year even with a rough start to the season. The heaviest weighed in at 676.5kg with the other being 674.5kg. Unluckily they didn’t really go heavy compared to the chart and the weights weren’t as good as what Tim was hoping for.

Here’s a small selection of photos from the day, I’ll add more to the photos page over the next couple of days, or you can check out The Great Pumpkin Carnival on Facebook or the carnivals website to see a whole album of over 200 photos from the day. While that may seem like a lot, having good photos really pays off later on and for promotion for next year.

Now I’m sorting out all the stuff I need to head off to Gisborne tomorrow, I’m checking out the Bushmere Arms pumpkin event on Sunday, keep an eye out for and update from there next week.