Toodyay newcomer steals giant pumpkin prize at 21st Dwellingup Pumpkin Festival

Toodyay newcomer John Blackwell stole the Pumpkin King crown from seasoned Dwellingup grower Robert Guimelli on Saturday at the 21st Dwellingup Pumpkin Festival.

With a pumpkin weighing in at 220.8 kilograms, it was Mr Blackwell’s first time entering the competition.

“I grew a pumpkin last year, which got up to 15 kilos, but it wasn’t a giant pumpkin, so I decided to do it this year,” Mr Blackwell said.

“We got the seeds from a pumpkin lady over east, and we put it in moo poo, and kept feeding it and watering it… I believe she gets [the seeds] from America. It was grown in Toodyay, though.”

Mr Blackwell began growing his prize-winning pumpkin back in October, but he said it stopped getting bigger about a month ago.

“We had one that split, which would’ve been bigger, and a couple of them didn’t take, but this is one of two left on the vine,” he said.

“Next year I’m going to grow one bigger than that one over there,” he said, pointing to a giant pumpkin that would’ve won if not for disqualification.

That pumpkin, grown by David Penfold, weighed in at 311 kilograms, but was disqualified due to rot.

“About a week or two ago it started getting a few soft spots, so I had to cut them out,” Mr Penfold said.

“But as it shrinked and dried up, it started to split through the middle… it’s a shame, but it happens I guess.”

Dwellingup Primary P&C president Warren Haugh said it was the biggest pumpkin festival to date.

“We had about 12-13 thousand come through… it was a huge success, it’s great for the school, but its really great for the whole community,” he said.

Along with the main event, the Giant Pumpkin Competition, other growers entered there spectacular fruits and vegetables into a range of different categories.

Congratulations to all winners!

Heaviest watermelon – Lou Vergone, 88.6 kilograms (above)

Longest fruit or vegetable – Heather Blackwell, white zucchini, 912 cm

Oddest fruit or vegetable – Robert Guimelli, pumpkin grown onto crate (below)

Heaviest fruit – Tilly, rockmelon, 1.352 kilograms

Heaviest vegetable – Heather Blackwell, white zucchini, 5.46 kilograms

Heaviest table pumpkin – Margaret Bennet, 26.8 kilograms (below)

Tallest sunflower – Kevin Pratt, 3.66 metres

Largest sunflower head – Mick Burges, 42 centimeters (below)

Junior under 16 pumpkin – Kobe Cocivera, 89.5 kilograms (below)

Junior under 16 watermelon – Tatiana Cocivera, 56.95 kilograms

Heaviest gourd – Geoff Warren, 8.45 kilograms

Pumpkin grown by a school – Dwellingup Primary School, 4.65 kilograms

Pumpkin grown in a home garden – Geoff Warren, 88.55 kilograms

Pumpkin closest to grower’s weight – Anthony Cocivera (below)


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