Collector Pumpkin Festival smashes records

An estimated 16,000 people banked up in cars on the Federal Highway on May 6, turning into Collector village for the popular pumpkin fixture, now in its 15th year.

The event included everything, from stalls to the heaviest pumpkin competition, scarecrows, a hay bale maze, sheep dog trials, and a wheelbarrow race, just to name a few.

Active Farmers did a demonstration using pumpkins as weights. Collector Village Pumpkin Festival president Gary Poile quipped the ‘burpees’ might have had more to do with the soup and pumpkin pies than fitness.

“It was a record crowd, although we’re not too worried about records anymore. Everyone enjoyed themselves and the weather was perfect,” Mr Poile said.

Michael Kiernan of Captains Flat took out the Joe Medway Memorial Heaviest Pumpkin competition with a 271kg whopper. Rachel Granger of Collector claimed the lightest honours with a 10 gram specimen.

Organisers sold out of the 370 litres of pumpkin soup they whipped up on Friday night. Patrons devoured 200 dozen scones, plus more made by other groups. Mr Poile said stallholders were selling out of food by 2pm.

Earlier that morning, organisers trucked in 600 bales of hay to be used in hay mazes and as props throughout the grounds

A large number of people came from the ACT, by far the festival’s “biggest customer.”

Although cars were queued on the highway, Mr Poile said police and traffic management controlled the flow at 60km/h and there were no accidents.

Proceeds from the event are still being tallied but he expects them to be more than last year’s $20,000 raised. The funds will go into community projects, including hall improvements.

“We’re pretty happy that it all came together,” Mr Poile said.

“...It’s hit peak pumpkin. The victory of our success is ringing in my ears but our motto is better, not bigger. We’ve hit the footprint and now we have to think about how to accommodate more people and get them in and out more easily.”