The chilliness within the air, the turning of the leaves, the smoke drifting from chimneys and the pumpkins crowding 91-year-old Ted Birkett’s paddock – it should be time for the Collector Village Pumpkin Competition.
Mr Birkett’s pumpkins are important to the success of the pageant. Annually they’re pulled up and distributed among the many townsfolk for reducing up. The items are delivered to the corridor on the Friday evening earlier than the pageant to be made into 300 litres of pumpkin soup, all in accordance with Carolyn Hannan’s secret recipe.
Common watering from a bore on his property over the new summer season meant Mr Birkett provided a great crop for this Sunday’s pageant. Not that he is overly involved with realizing what number of he is produced.
“You depend ’em,” the non-nonsense nonagenarian mentioned.
It is salt-of-the-earth volunteers like Mr Birkett who’ve saved the Collector Village Pumpkin Competition thriving since 2003.
Final yr’s occasion attracted greater than 16,000 individuals, remodeling the village of about 250 residents north of Canberra on the Federal Freeway.
The pageant has struck a chord because it celebrates autumn, harvest, the easy pleasures of rural life and neighborhood.
The entry charges are every year ploughed again into native endeavours, whether or not it is supporting the native college or pony membership, restoring headstones within the cemetery or shopping for gear for the bushfire brigade.
“We’re all volunteers who run it and we wish to make it pretty much as good as we will,” coordinator Gary Poile mentioned.
“We hear and we alter issues if we have to.”
One of many adjustments this yr is extra room for parking. A neighborhood farmer is letting his paddock be used for extra overflow parking after final yr’s huge turn-out.
A giant a part of the pageant’s enchantment is preserving true to its grassroots origins. It has competitions for pumpkin baking, pumpkin rolling and the largest pumpkin. in addition to cow-milking and sheep canine demonstrations. And it has a way of humour.
The scarecrow constructing competitors is an opportunity every year for residents to let their artistic energies run wild.
There’s additionally a way of enjoyable. Saturday morning will see 600 hay bales trucked in to make a hay maze for teenagers.
“Final yr a mouse popped out of one of many bales and the youngsters spent the remainder of the day looking for it,” Mr Poile mentioned.
A brand new precinct has been added this tear, targeted on the Uniting Church, that includes artwork, music and meals.
Zero likelihood of rain is forecast for Collector on Sunday, with a prime of 17 levels anticipated.
“Excellent autumn climate,” Mr Poile mentioned.
The Collector Village Pumpkin Competition is on Sunday, Might 5 from 10am to 4pm. Entry is $10 for adults and $5 for seniors. Kids aged 15 and underneath have free entry. Take the Federal Freeway to Collector after which comply with the indicators to the pageant web site in Bourke Road. Extra particulars at pumpkinfestival.com.au