Port Elgin’s Pumpkinfest (and sort of auto show…?)

16 Oct

My good friend CW is from Owen Sound and his parents still live there in a heritage house on a large property that has more character (and arguably more ghosts?) than my shoebox condo in Toronto could ever muster.  His parents are the kindest people in the world and usually invite us in the summer to come up for a weekend to relax, eat our hearts out, and generally get spoiled rotten.  It’s pretty much the best.

We missed out on our summer getaway this year (because his parents were being too cool living abroad!) so none of us hesitated when they invited us for a pre-Thanksgiving retreat…the same weekend as Port Elgin’s Pumpkinfest!

Guys, I love autumn.  I love pumpkins.  I love small towns.  Finding out I could have it all combined into one small town Pumpkinfest means my mind = buh-lown.

The core festival was hosted on a large field behind a high school (between the smoking pit and the nerd moat), but the peripheral festival closed up the roads of downtown Port Elgin (basically two large city blocks) and included a popular auto show and a mixed sidewalk sale of home-raised honey, liquidated Ed Hardy inspired fleece blankets, and old vinyl records.  The auto show was a crowd favourite: aqua blue ’50s convertibles ready to drive you to the beach with your surfboard, sleek matte black sports cars worthy of Bruce Wayne and old milk trucks with bizarre puppets inside.  There really was something for everyone.

Then it was time for the festival’s namesake: pumpkins.  We wandered over to the high school and got stopped to pay $10 for wristband admission – a surprise to all of us.  I will get access to the largest pumpkins I’ll ever see, a teenage boy promised, one hand full of green paper wristbands, the other full of crumpled tens.  Okay, I’ll believe you kid, take my money.

Oh, he was not wrong.

Bigger than a small car!

Bigger than a small car!

We arrived just in time for the awards ceremony.  Place was packed so I could only run up to sneak in a quick photo.

Handing out the trophies!

Handing out the trophies!

A lot of other fruits of farmers’ labours were featured, including sunflowers and gnarly tomatoes.

Gnarly tomatoes!

Gnarly tomatoes!

We wandered around a bit more and found a fenced-in petting zoo where sugar-hyped toddlers held terrified sheep hostage, lots of food trucks (sadly, only offering fries and burgers…I’ve been spoiled by Toronto’s food truck scene), a handful of midway rides, and you know, your typical Pumpkinfest medieval fight scene.

Ye Olde Pumpkinfest Fight

Ye Olde Pumpkinfest Fight

How do you cap off an afternoon of fun?  You make sure everyone leaves with a free pumpkin!

I shall name you Captain Pummykins!

I shall name you Captain Pummykins!

All in all, there is nothing quite like a stroll through a cheerful small town full of friendly people in the crisp autumn air while celebrating our harvest season (with obscenely large pumpkins).  Get up, grab a pen, and save the date for next year!

Oh, and because this IS predominantly a food blog, I will share our stash from Owen Sound’s Creative Choices bakery and market: peanut butter cookies, ginger molasses cookies and a pie (I bet you would’ve guessed pumpkin…but no, strawberry rhubarb!).

Bakery stash!

Bakery stash!



2 Responses to “Port Elgin’s Pumpkinfest (and sort of auto show…?)”

  1. Lorrie October 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Glad you enjoyed! Healthier fares such as fresh squash soup, fish, beef and chicken tacos were also available if you looked hard enough by the midway. My fav is always fresh sushi with many gluten free options!

    • aliceyyz October 17, 2013 at 9:07 pm #

      Sad I missed the squash soup! Will have to make a note to look for it next year!

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