Collector Pumpkin Festival

5 May

It’s a bright and cloudless morning in Canberra. In Autumn and Winter, this means one thing: it’s cold! The good thing is, it’s expected to stay cloudless and soaking up some Vitamin D at the Collector Pumpkin Festival is in order!

We hear it’s going to be busy, so we get to Collector (about 40 minutes outside Canberra) bang on 10am. It’s already very busy. What first? Food, of course!

Warm savoury pumpkin pie

Warm savoury pumpkin pie

As we walk in the gates we can already see a big crowd forming around a small bread and pie shop on the right. It must be good if there’s a line already, right? Right. And yes, this theory is proven! The pastry on this savoury pie ($4) is light and fluffy, and the filling is tasty. This stall’s pumpkin bread is being snatched up.

Sweet pumpkin pie

Sweet pumpkin pie

Having savoured the savoury pie, I’m keen for a sweet pumpkin pie. The Montrose Berry Farm (from Sutton) has a stall selling their jams, raspberry and boysenberry vinegars, and berry and pumpkin pies. The pumpkin pie’s ($3.50 with cream) tasty, and the pastry is amazing, but there’s not a lot of actual pumpkin mixture. I really want that gorgeous, smooth and fragrant mix of pumpkin, clove and cinnamon, and this doesn’t deliver. However, while waiting in the line, we’re offered little tastes of the vinegar and wow! Acidic, sweet, punchy. We come back later to purchase a bottle of the boysenberry vinegar ($9 each).

Cooper in the sunshine

Cooper in the sunshine

Cooper the whippet waits patiently for food to fall to the ground that he can gobble up.

Up ahead are the enormous pumpkins. Enormous! Over 200 kilos! I may let out a little squeal of excitement.



I think this one looks a little like ET

I think this one looks a little like ET

To the right of the monster pumpkins is an area where people are putting together pumpkin people. They are all very clever.

Best decorated pumpkin(s) - you can see why!

Best decorated pumpkin(s) – you can see why!

In the hall there are large servings of pumpkin scones in one room, and in the other, the finalists and winners of a variety of cute pumpkin categories.

How cute are these?

How cute are these?

This is my favourite

This is my favourite!

I would happily assist with eating these

I would happily assist with eating these

There’s also the best carved and most unusual pumpkins.

Winner of the carved pumpkins

Winner of the carved pumpkins

This takes skill!

This takes skill!

And this was a huge pumpkin in its own right! Here is it against my  hand for comparison.

And this was a huge pumpkin in its own right! Here is it against my hand for comparison.

Love, LOVE this

Love, LOVE this

Unusual - that's for sure!

Unusual – that’s for sure!

Outside the hall there’s plenty more to eat, ranging from pumpkin soup to more scones, Asian cuisine, and Turkish! What’s more, the crowds have grown. There’s little room to move!


Just when I think we’ve seen all there is to see, there’s a vintage engine and car display.



We’ve already overeaten, but I’m still on a hunt for the perfect sweet pumpkin pie. Fortunately, I find it, right back where we started – where they’re selling the savoury pumpkin pies and the pumpkin bread. They’ve nailed the flavours.

Sweet pumpkin pie version 2

Sweet pumpkin pie version 2 ($4)

It’s so good that I go back shortly afterwards and get the larger ‘family sized’ version for $8.

Fairly confident that this was one of the best days of Cooper's life

Fairly confident that this was one of the best days of Cooper’s life

For a $5 entry per person fee (free for children under 12), the Collector Pumpkin Festival is a great day out for the family – especially if your ‘family’ includes your pooch! Cooper enjoys himself being constantly petted and works out quickly that if he keeps an eye on what we’re eating, invariably he’ll get to taste it – whether bits fall out of our hand, or simply because we feel guilty! For we humans, it’s a lovely opportunity to enjoy the sun, catch up/meet a few Twitter friends, and the festival having a theme makes it a little more interesting and enjoyable than your average market.

My only criticism is… I think the festival could be slightly more pumpkin-y! There are plenty of pumpkin activities, but I expect a lot more pumpkin food options. After three laps I can still only spot two stalls which are selling sweet pumpkin pies, and only two or three with pumpkin soup. I hear later that there’s a pumpkin rolling fest – I’m sorry I missed it! I understand it’s only in its 10th year – I can’t wait to see even more pumpkins next year 🙂

Date: 10am-11.30 Sunday 5 May

Cost: $5 per person (under 12 free)

Worthwhile factor: Highly worthwhile

Want more? Try the Pumpkin Festival website.

12 Responses to “Collector Pumpkin Festival”

  1. Lizzy (Good Things) May 5, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Nice one. We had a fun day too.

  2. Amanda Caldwell May 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    Excellent content, Tara. Well done! I can almost taste the pumpkin pies, although I am SURE they would not be as good as my nana’s grammar pie. That’s a whole ‘nother vegetable.

    • inthetaratory May 5, 2013 at 10:57 pm #

      Whoa. What is that? I expect a blog post about it! 😀

  3. Rachi May 5, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    Great pics! We completely missed the hall and those cars.. oops! That sweet pie version 2 was definitely my favourite thing there too. I just wish they didn’t run out of everything so quickly. Mental note to go MUCH earlier next year! 🙂

  4. Gary Lum May 6, 2013 at 6:00 am #

    YUM Pumpkin pie. Cooper looks so content. I loved the images of the cars. Did they have a pumpkin this big though? 🙂

    • inthetaratory May 9, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Not that big Gaz – that is ENORMOUS. Wow. Cooper was a very happy dog. I think he’s been in a good mood all week as a result!

  5. Bells May 6, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    This was, I think, our fifth time going. It’s really improved over the years (although I still think the stall holders struggle a bit with the numbers). But yes, it’s a great fun day out and thank you for posting photos of all the things I didn’t get to see because we spend loads of time at the jumping castle!

    • inthetaratory May 9, 2013 at 8:19 pm #

      It really is great – pretty good effort for a small town! I reckon it’ll just keep getting better. Glad to hear you enjoyed the photos – I bet Alice enjoyed the jumping castle!

  6. inthetaratory May 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    Love love love this. Had no idea Grammar was a pumpkin!

  7. Amanda Caldwell May 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    I actually got ticked off by my sister for spelling it wrong, in a fit of late night typing -coz it’s gramma not grammar. Some of the sites misspell it, and I got transfixed. But I got up at 7am and fixed it ! Always the little sister. 🙂


  1. Nana’s grammar pie | Life with a blackdog - May 8, 2013

    […] southern highlands of NSW, they held the Collector Pumpkin Festival; you can read all about it in this great blog, In the Taratory, and here is a news […]

  2. Coming Up in 2014 #3 | In The Taratory - March 24, 2014

    […] PUMPKINS! Yep, the Collector Pumpkin Festival is back on again. It’s kinda like the Royal Canberra Show, but it revolves around pumpkins. It’s dog friendly, and it’s rural without having to pack an overnight bag. Plus, pumpkins! Sunday, 4 May is the day you’re looking for (here’s my take last year). […]

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