Pumpkins, Passion and Perseverance

On the first Saturday of October the Town of Smoky Lake, Alberta, and surrounding area become a tourist hot spot destination. From across western Canada visitors come to see Pumpkins Squashes and Watermelon the giants. At the Great White North Pumpkin Fair and Weigh-Off. This is one event you do not want to miss.

Twenty-one years ago, when a group of friends decided to try and grow BIG pumpkins, they likely had no idea that it would grow into a major event attracting thousands of people to Smoky Lake for the Pumpkin Festival

And now there’s so much more than ‘weighing in’ happening on that first weekend in October – including a Giant Pumpkin Drop (click here to see the pumpkin drop), Show and Shine, Art Show, Threshing Bee, and Pork Supper.

Pat and Ed Palechuk, mainstays of this popular event, confirm that it took hard work and commitment from the community for this event to grow into a festival that attracts 6000 visitors to a town of 1000! The organizing committee starts early every January to plan for the next festival. Directors focus on their responsibility area – such as sponsorship, volunteers, facilities, and promotion.

Throughout the year, the directors report on progress, highlighting problem areas. Since this is truly a collaborative exercise, the others pitch in to help and solve problems. Also, every year organizers work on one area of improvement, such as the addition of a shuttle service.

After the festival, when everyone’s had a chance to catch their breath, there is a de-briefing meeting and a celebration of the success.

“You need people who truly have the passion,” said Pat. “And if they have the passion, you’ll find that they also have many skills as part of their occupations or hobbies that can be applied to the festival. When you listen to each other, and respect each other, you’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished.”

The core philosophy that drives this event, according to Pat, is that everyone knows that they are doing it to benefit their community. And based upon the impressive array of activities that take place on festival weekend it is clear the big winners of this huge effort are the visitors. Join us for a truly unique experence that will provide lasting memories for people of all ages. We look foward to seeing you at our Fair.