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Smashing Pumpkins at Kings County Academy


KCA students compete for plaque, bragging rights at annual pumpkin drop competition

KENTVILLE, NS - “Drop it! Drop it!” 
Hundreds of KCA students chanted excitedly below as their pumpkins were dropped from a cherry picker at least 20 feet above the school’s basketball court, all in the name of science. 
For the past few years, each class at the Primary to Grade 8 school has been challenged to fill a box with recyclable or organic material to protect their pumpkin from its lofty fall. This year, Mayor Sandra Snow, police chief Julia Cecchetto, Const. Kevin Andrews and Mark Phillips and Gillian Yorke from the Town of Kentville were on hand to judge the entries. Each box was judged based on the distance it landed from the “X marks the spot,” the type of material inside the box and how smashed the pumpkin was after the fall. 
The pumpkin drop event was initiated by Kentville’s director of engineering and works, Fred Whynot. According to Yorke, with this event, Whynot gets to be more involved with the fun side of public works. 
Whynot provides the pumpkins to the school and arranges for Atlantic Arborists to come and donate their time with their cherry-picker truck to drop the pumpkins in front of the adoring crowd.
 “We rented a scissor lift a couple of times, but the kids had been getting progressively better at their designs, so we got Atlantic Arborists involved as they can take the pumpkins much higher,” said Whynot. 
The event first began five years ago, he said, and was initially not held at KCA.
“We first tried Centre Square during the 2013 Harvest Fest, planning to use the ladder truck of the fire department,” he said. “As fate would have it, they were called to assist with a fire or other emergency. We moved it to KCA so that more kids could be involved and to take advantage of more space as well.”
That’s when the town started renting the scissor lift because it was guaranteed to be available, he added. 
“Much better to have our fire department concentrate their equipment on what they do best,” Whynot added. “Joey Peters and his group from Atlantic Arborists have really added that extra touch with the height and it is something they do for free and enjoy as well. The Pumpkin Drop is something we wanted to do with the kids to promote science, Harvest Fest, teamwork and outdoor fun - a tradition we plan to continue.”
This year, the award for “Best Appearance” went to Shay/Conway’s Grade 5 class for their Canada 150 depiction. The “Least Environmental Impact” award went to Mrs. Parsons’ Grade 7 class for having stuffed their box with leaves. The “Best Design” went to Mr. West’s Grade 6 class as their popcorn filling prevented their pumpkin from smashing. This design was an improvement over last year’s when the same class bent the rules and used a gourd instead of a pumpkin. 
To end the morning, Atlantic Arborists dropped whole pumpkins onto the basketball court, much to the appreciation of the students, who find the more smashed up the pumpkins, the better. 
“It’s such a fun morning, and the kids and teachers both love it,” said one teacher. “They take it so seriously.” 

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