The traditional P.E.I. giant pumpkin weigh-off is closed to the public this year due to COVID-19 but the scales will still be ready for growers.
"They put the effort to grow the pumpkin and they'd like to know what it weighs," said Gordon Aten, president of the P.E.I. Giant Pumpkin Growers Association. "Just something to satisfy the curiosity."
The official decision to close came a couple of weeks ago, but Aten said the producers knew it was coming.
"We were hoping," he said. "But we didn't want to be part of spreading anything around, so it was best to say no this year."
Aten said he thinks the event will be missed. In the past, the gigantic gourds have drawn hundreds of people to the grounds at Veseys Seeds over Thanksgiving weekend.
It's discouraging but we're all in the same boat. — Gordon Aten, P.E.I. Giant Pumpkin Growers Association
Last year, the heaviest pumpkin weighed in at 545 kilograms, Aten said — about the same as a dairy cow. But because of the dry conditions this season, the pumpkins will likely be smaller.
In fact, while Aten said that he isn't sure exactly how much his personal pumpkin weighs, he joked that he "might be able to lift it" himself.
Growers with a giant squash or pumpkin can take them to the weigh-off on Oct. 10 at 11 a.m.
While prize money will still be awarded to the winner, the amount will also be smaller.
"It's just a tough thing," he said. "It's just a tough year, for everybody."
But looking forward, Aten said he remains hopeful they will be back next year with more massive pumpkins for Islanders to see.
"It's discouraging but we're all in the same boat. We all got to do our part to put an end to this virus."
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