Pumpkin competition rounds off successful Steyning & District Food and Drink Festival

Steyning’s popular annual pumpkin weighing competition took on a different format this year but proved just as much fun as ever.

Rather than having the usual spectacle, involving a tractor and weighing scales, shoppers were asked to vote by sight as they passed the display at Steyning Farmers’ Market on the final day of the Steyning & District Food and Drink Festival.

First prize for the heaviest pumpkin went to William and Oliver Peet from Steyning, with Jim Buckland from Wiston in second place, and the prize for best shape went to Hugo from Wiston.

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Reina Alston, chairman of Steyning & District Community Partnership’s visitor and tourism group, said: “Because of not wishing to encourage large crowds to mass round and watch as the usual tractor weighing progressed, the much-anticipated annual pumpkin weigh took the route of putting the pumpkins on static display and asking the public to vote for what they thought was the heaviest one.

First prize winners William and Oliver Peet with their Cocoa Loco goodie box.

“It was just as much fun and it is interesting that when outside forces leave you no alternative other than to change some time-honoured method, the new way turns out to be just a good, if not sometimes even better.”

The competition is organised by Derek Crush from Daylands Farm in Ashurst and all money collected from the sale of the pumpkin plants is donated to St Barnabas House hospice in Worthing. So far this year, £220 has been raised, with more to come.

Reina said this year’s festival overall had been very different to usual but it had been put together against all the odds, with support from local businesses.

Many of the events were run online, including Higgidy Pies’ food challenges, an Instagram cake decorating exhibiton, Steyning Bake Off and talks.

Jim Buckland from Wiston was judged to have the second heaviest pumpkin

Reina said: “Thanks to the sponsors who made it possible and, of course, the hard-working band of volunteers behind the scenes, it was all in all a great community effort. Here’s to 2021 and hopefully more normal times.”

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