Pumpkin winners big, but competition under threat
THE Annual Summerland Pumpkin competition yielded impressive results but it may be the last competition, as the organisation struggles to secure sponsorship for next year's event.
At Lismore Showgrounds on Saturday, Knockcrow citrus and pumpkin farmer Dale Oliver took the blue ribbon for the largest fruit, with a 362kg Atlantic Giant.
Last year, Geoffrey Frohloff, of Mimben, Queensland, was crowned the winner, with a 326kg cream Atlantic pumpkin.
This year Frohloff won the biggest watermelon event, with a 82.5kg fruit.
Summerland Joint Growers Association member Steve Leadbeatter of Kyogle praised Queensland growers for participating in the event.
But he said next year's competition was uncertain due to a lack of sponsorship.
"We really need sponsors otherwise it's a possibility it won't run," he said.
The event has run for seven years, its first year recording a 67kg pumpkin, and at its height setting a world record with a 743kg pumpkin, also grown by Mr Oliver.
Summerland Joint Growers Association member Gary Smith said the Kyogle-born competition was the best in the world, only second to that by American growers.
With ideal conditions for pumpkins on the Northern Rivers, Mr Smith was optimistic the event would continue.
"We have constantly grown the biggest pumpkins in Australia," Mr Smith said.
"If we can get more growers we can get bigger."