There is one brilliant way to ease into the month of October and that’s by attending the annual Smoky Lake Pumpkin Festival. Forget the pumpkin spice lattes, this fair is the real deal. The town of Smoky Lake even has a decorative pumpkin patch roadside attraction, I can add that to my list of roadtrips to the biggest and best kitsch monuments. Do you love autumn so much that you would drive an hour and half out of town to celebrate all things gourd related for a full day? I guess I do since this was my second year attending. From the great pumpkin weigh off to the farmer’s market with endless pumpkin desserts to choose from, this is an event not to be missed, especially since it ends in a giant pumpkin dropping from a crane onto a car… more on that later.
An autumnal day in the prairies is the perfect weather for a drive. The pale yellow of the harvested wheat fields against the dark and stormy backdrop of the distant skyline creates a certain ambience and general Charlie Brown-esque feeling. This is truly the colour palette of the prairies.
We arrived just past noon and in time to catch the weigh off of the top 3 pumpkins. The last one, a behemoth of a gourd, beat the longstanding weight record of the 29 year old festival. Weighing in at 1652 lbs, that pumpkin was no joke, I’m surprised it didn’t cause the forklift to topple over as it delicately placed the great pumpkin on the scale. What a day to be alive!
After the weigh-off was the pumpkin auction. That was a raucous event in itself with a large crowd vying for a mutant gourd to take home. I enjoyed the frenzied bids from a distance while sampling the baked goods from the market. Pumpkin cinnamon bun anyone?
Ever wondered what it would look like to see a morbidly obese pumpkin drop from the sky on to a car? Today is your lucky day…. below is footage of two smashing pumpkins. Legend has it, the town of Smoky Lake asked the Smashing Pumpkins to play the pumpkin festival. They, allegedly, declined.
Here’s to another year of ringing in the fall season with the annual pumpkin festival! I’m already looking forward to seeing the pumpkin drop of 2018. I’ll be counting down the days beginning…. now! Perhaps I need to invest in a knitted pumpkin toque? For more information on this wonderful fair, check out the Smoky Lake township site here.
photographs – Jesse Sand // Sandy Joe