Slindon’s smashing picture perfect pumpkin display opens

Robin Upton of Slindon Pumpkins who designed the central piece.14LASEP30c-1 PPP-140930-172003006

Robin Upton of Slindon Pumpkins who designed the central piece.14LASEP30c-1 PPP-140930-172003006

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SLINDON is back on the map as the pumpkin capital thanks to another smashing display.

As Hallowe’en creeps closer it can only mean one thing – the annual Slindon Pumpkin Festival is up and running again.

The Slindon Pumkin's cat Ginger finds a nice spot amid the pumpkins.14LASEP30c-5 PPP-140930-172544006

The Slindon Pumkin's cat Ginger finds a nice spot amid the pumpkins.14LASEP30c-5 PPP-140930-172544006

This year’s spectacular display has been created to mark the 75th anniversary of the Second World War fighter plane, the Spitfire, and the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Started by the late Ralph Upton, the festival is now run by his son Robin, assisted by a team of helpers.

Robin said: “I am very pleased with how it has turned out.

“It is nice to see it up there. We have had to make a few changes as we were putting it up, but it looks good.”

This year’s display, which contains around 1,000 pumpkin, squashes and marrows, is made up of some 30 varieties of the fruits.

There are Bushbabies, Sunbeams and Crown Prince’s to name a few.

“It is bigger than we thought.

“It measures around 20ft by 11ft so it is the biggest we have had in a while. It took three days to get the base ready and then ten days to create the picture,” said Robin.

There has already been a lot of interest in the display, which usually attracts around 8,000 visitors from across the globe.

“We have visitors from far and wide. It is funny when you see people drive past and then reverse back up the road to have a good look. As we get closer to Hallowe’en it gets absolutely packed,” said Robin.

Slindon land artist Mark Ford, of Two Circles Design, helped turned Robin’s Spitfire scene into a reality.

Mark said: “It is really like a giant jigsaw. It does made you proud when you stand back and look at it.

“This is the third year that I have been involved and I am looking forward to the ideas for next year.”

Mark, who usually works creating willow sculptures, said he was particularly pleased by some of the contrasts created by the different colours of the various fruits.

The display shows two Spitfires, one in the forefront with the other in the distance.

In one corner there is the Royal Air Force Roundel and in the other Chichester Cathedral’s spire.

“I wanted to include the spire as once upon a time when you used to look out from the end of the garden you could see it,” said Robin.

Planning for the display usually starts in February when Robin decided what seeds he is going to plant.

Then it is fingers crossed for good growing weather.

Robin said: “We have been fairly lucky this year and we have had some good growing conditions. This means we have more fruit to chose from.

“Having a good choice of colours means we can have more choice about what we would like the display to look like.”

Years gone by have seen some brilliant displays, but when did the event begin?

Robin says his father started putting pumpkins on the roof to dry in 1968, which attracted interest and the displays just continued to grow.

The display is open from 10am to 5.30pm daily at 4 Top Road, Slindon.

It should stay up until the beginning of November.