Mariska’s pumpkin a big winner at Kalgan’s annual Pumpkin Festival

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Winner Mariska Upton, 5, with her pumpkin.
Camera IconWinner Mariska Upton, 5, with her pumpkin. Credit: Shannon Smith

Five-year-old Mariska Upton is the princess of pumpkins after claiming the top prize at Kalgan’s annual Pumpkin Festival.

Mariska’s 81.5kg whopper won the junior and open categories of the weigh-in at the Lower Kalgan Community Association event on Saturday.

The Youngs Siding girl has been working on her pumpkin growing skills since she was two.

Her father Sanjay Upton said Mariska and her four-year-old brother Aston grew their pumpkins without help from their parents.

“The kids do it all themselves,” he said.

“I get the dirt for them and then they dig the holes, they put the dirt in, plant the seed and water it.

“They planted them in late October. They get a lot of fun out of it and if they win, it’s their money.”

Mariska said good compost from All Soils helped her pumpkin grow.

Her family will share the pumpkin with their neighbours. Second prize in the open category went to Ian Fryer-Smith with a pumpkin weighing 62.5kg.

Ian Fryer-Smith with his pumpkins and neighbours Kia, 8, and Seren Cross, 11.
Camera IconIan Fryer-Smith with his pumpkins and neighbours Kia, 8, and Seren Cross, 11.

Mr Fryer-Smith said he had learned growing pumpkins was all about genetics.

“I will take this pumpkin home and get the seeds from it and plant it for next year,” he said.

Second place in the junior category went to Ella Harris.

Festival organiser Stacey Munane said it had been a tough year for growers, producing smaller pumpkins than in previous years.

Chris Metcalfe with his pumpkin.
Camera IconChris Metcalfe with his pumpkin.

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