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1st-ever Operation Pumpkin Drop in Saskatoon raises $9K for local pediatrics fund

Halloween came early to Saskatoon in a big, smashing way Sunday.

Early Halloween display of carnage raises money for Saskatoon Fire Fighters Pediatric Fund

Giant Pumpkin Drop in Saskatoon 0:47

You could do worse for a Sunday afternoon.

A charity-minded insurance industry fraternity partnered with several Saskatoon businesses Sunday to drop three giant pumpkins from a height of about 35 metres in the middle of a field.

The pumpkins were suspended from a height of about 35 metres before meeting their untimely ends. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

It was all to raise money for the Saskatoon Fire Fighters Pediatric Fund, which helps fund programs like the Cancer Summer Camp Program.

"What else are you going to do on a Sunday in October?" said Brennen Mills, a member of the Saskatoon chapter of the Honourable Order of the Blue Goose International, the insurance industry fraternity.

One pumpkin, weighing around 600 kilograms, was suspended from a 40-metre crane (the largest that H&H Crane could lend out) and dropped onto a unclaimed Nissan Maxima, donated by Saskatchewan Government Insurance.

The Nissan Maxima, before it got smashed by a giant pumpkin Sunday afternoon. (Brennen Mills)

"It's kind of a shame. It's actually a nice-looking car. I just hope we don't miss," said Mills before the event.

They did not.

The post-impact splatter. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

"It's a brilliant idea for a fundraiser, what a great idea," said Michelle Clelend, who heard about the event online but went to the field at Black Fox Farm and Distillery to see for herself. 

"So ridiculous that it brings a crowd."

Pumpkin-turned-candy pinata

Another pumpkin — which, like the others, came courtesy of Airdrie, Alta., grower Eddy Zaychkowsky — was hollowed out and filled with numbered table-tennis balls before being dropped onto a target: a dug-out cup and flag courtesy of Moon Lake Golf and Country Club.

Each ball was sold for five dollars, with the ball landing closest to the target nabbing a grand prize. 

The nearly 600-kilogram showcase pumpkin was grown in Alberta, requiring between 50 and 100 gallons of water a day during its growth. (Brennen Mills)
No detail was overlooked. A third pumpkin was crammed with candy before its drop. Maxie's Excavating was on hand to clean up the splatter and Nordic Fencing was there to keep the kids at bay until the crash site is deemed safe.

Once it was, they descended on the field like a ravenous horde straight out of Braveheart

The kids approach the field in a ravenous mass to reach the candy one lodged inside the splattered pumpkin. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

They were not disappointed.

Euphoria. Pity the poor parents who have to put these kids to bed tonight. (Trevor Bothorel/CBC)

The event ultimately raised around $9,000 for the fund. 

All that was missing was musical accompaniment from The Smashing Pumpkins.

"Next year," said Brennen. 

About the Author

Guy Quenneville

Reporter and web writer for CBC Saskatoon

Story tips, ideas, complaints, just want to say 'Hi'? Write me at guy.quenneville@cbc.ca

with files from Trevor Bothorel and Marianne Meunier