By Fadi Didi
Several giant squash and pumpkins tip the scales at a successful Pumpkinfest in Port Elgin.
An announcement of a Trans-Pacific Partnership was repeatedly delayed on the weekend -- and it remains to be seen whether a deal will be signed in Atlanta today.
Negotiators for the 12 nations involved met around the clock right through the weekend.
Outstanding issues were said to include opening up Canada to more foreign products.
Campaigning in Stratford yesterday, Tom Mulcair said the pact Prime Minister Harper is pushing could hurt Canadian farmers and manufacturers.
Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau both objected to the secretive nature of the T-P-P talks.
The president of Keystone Agricultural Producers says he is "disappointed'' everyday when he tunes into the federal election news.
Dan Mazier says he wants to hear more about agriculture.
Mazier remains optimistic the parties and candidates will realize agriculture is a major economic driver that's responsible for one in eight jobs.
He feels one way to engage the farm vote would be to address Canada's grain transportation system.
The MacKenzies of Tiverton have done it again at Port Elgin's Pumpkinfest, owning the two major weigh-in categories for the Sunday local/regional weigh off.
Bob MacKenzie won $1,000 with the heaviest pumpkin at 1,157 pounds this year, while his wife Elaine had a 608 pound pumpkin good for 9th spot.
In the squash division, it was wife Elaine who was the winner with an 805 pounder.
Hubby Bob came in 5th at 596 pounds.
Bob says it took a lot of good luck to come up with the winning weight for the pumpkin.
He says with good weather in September, he believes his pumpkin gained some 400-pounds that month alone.
Bob says he was hopeful his entry was a contender but he says you never know until it's on the scale as some in the past weighed in light.
Overall organizers are happy with the way the 29th annual Port Elgin Pumpkinfest unfolded this past weekend.
Chair Brad Scott says it looks like attendance is up from last year, judging from early figures on the books.
No official attendance figures have been announced but organizers expect the numbers to be on a par with the 2012 attendance of around 50,000.
Scott tells Bayshore Broadcasting News, more importantly the economic spinoffs in the region are huge.
He says over a million-dollars is brought directly into Port Elgin while the region enjoys a 5-million-dollar shot in the arm.
Scott says he's talked to some growers who had to book hotel space as far away as Goderich because rooms in the immediate area were fully booked.
Aside from a few spits of rain and cloudy, cool conditions, the crowds were out for the classic car show and the attractions behind Saugeen District Secondary School.
In case you missed it, on Saturday, Grey Bruce Owen Sound MPP Bill Walker won the pumpkin seed spitting championship with a distance of 29-feet-6-inches.
In the international weigh-off on Saturday, Todd Kline of Shawville, Quebec defended his championship with a pumpkin weighing in at 1,733 pounds, just 20-pounds off the Port Elgin site record set in 2012.
He takes home $3,000 for his efforts.
Sunday's top three pumpkin finishers are:
Bob MacKenzie, Tiverton (1157.5)
Ralph Giffen, Barrie (1088.5)
Peter Mathonia, Zurich (1052.5)
Sunday's top three squash finishers are:
Elaine MacKenzie, Tiverton (805)
Doug Court, Port Elgin (667.5)
Tamri Ashton, Port Elgin (621.5)
Here are the top three finisher in the International pumpkin weigh off on Saturday:
Todd Kline, Shawville, Quebec (1733.5)
Jeff Warner, Englehart, Ontario (1683.5)
Chris Lyons, Scarborough, Ontario (1484)
Here are the top three finishers in the squash weigh off:
Joel Jarvis, St. Thomas, Ontario (892)
Kristine Jarvis, St. Thomas, Ontario (836)
Douglas Court, Port Elgin, Ontario (573.5)