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Giant Pumpkin Regattas

Updated on October 25, 2014

Multiple Pumpkin Racing Events Every Fall!

It's the kind of thing one might experience in a dream. It makes no sense, but seems perfectly logical at the time. Once a year, Giant Pumpkins, some elaborately decorated, are gently lowered (sometimes by crane) into a river or lake, gutted, and... ridden?

It is the stuff of fairy tales. Cinderella did it, sort of, but she at least had the sense to stay dry. And while Linus did not ride in one in the Charlie Brown story, he did imagine one rising up from the ground. It's difficult to think of a giant pumpkin as anything more than a freak of nature, or perhaps an exaggerated symbol of fall harvest time. Yet, it has its appeal. What other fruit (or is it a vegetable?) could one grow and then ride in? How else to celebrate a fall harvest, than making an event out of the grandest of them all?

I am not a big fan of digging out pumpkins. The slimy gooey insides with all those slippery seeds are not a pleasant tactile experience I look forward to every year. I cannot imagine the horror of sliding my lower half into one, and then attempting to get it to propel me across the water. The pumpkin boats ride somewhat like a cross between a kayak and a bumper boat: low and clumsy.

In the month of October, there are numerous events centered on this pumpkin-sailing phenomenon of the Giant Pumpkin Regatta. Like the Polar Bear's last frolic in the ocean before heading into a long and icy winter, the townships and country folk in the land of giant pumpkins too have their fall fling before snow drives everyone indoors for the Holiday Season. Community spirit abounds, folks allow their silly to shine, and most of all, they create a good story to tell.

Photo by origamidon

Pumpkin Boats Windsor Regatta Nova Scotia
Pumpkin Boats Windsor Regatta Nova Scotia

Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta

Windsor, Nova Scotia, Canada

This is "Big Pumpkin Country"! Windsor claims to be the home of the original Pumpkin Regatta, having boasted a 4 time Guinness Book of Work Records Holder in Howard Dill from their parts. Dill created the internationally famous "Atlantic Giant Pumpkin Seeds". It was the son of Howard, Danny Dill, who got together with locals to increase awareness of the town's Great Pumpkin legacy, and held the first Regatta in 1999.

The Regatta takes place in Lake Pesaquid: Falmouth to Windsor. There are two heats: one for the motorized and experimental class, and another for the paddle class. Several events lead up to the race, starting with the Children's Wish Parade of Pumpkin Paddlers, where the paddlers march with their PVC's (Personal Vegetable Crafts). Local store owners help organize a "Mad Gourd Scavenger Hunt", and chef's celebrate with a Chili Challenge. Musicians and Vendors, along with plenty of spectators, line the waterfront for the big event.

More on the event

Photo by origamidon


Each year, the Great Pumpkin rises out of the pumpkin patch that he thinks is the most sincere. He's gotta pick this one. He's got to. I don't see how a pumpkin patch can be more sincere than this one. You can look around and there's not a sign of hypocrisy. Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see.

Charles Schultz: "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"

Great Pumpkin Patch

Great Pumpkin Patch
Great Pumpkin Patch

Waiting for the Great Pumpkin

Goffstown Regatta
Goffstown Regatta

Piscataquog River Race

A Goffstown Tradition

This annual Goffstown Giant Pumpkin Weigh-Off and Regatta event lasts for a whole weekend, and the regatta includes giant pumpkins fitted with outboard motors. It all started in 2000 with Sawzalls instead of pumpkin blades, and captains in costume. While the pumpkins were not decorated at that time, the event has involved into fully decorated giant pumpkin boats of the most outrageous kind!

One October weekend in the fall, Southern New Hampshire's Piscataquog River becomes the field for all who dare to venture in. The first four boats are always manned by local police, local firefighters, Goffstown selectmen and the Main Street Program.

The weekend is a community celebration of festivities, such as: a pumpkin hunt, St Matthews church flea market, Lions club cook-off, fried dough from the Main Street program and Rotary Club Hot dogs. The event was originally proposed by Jim Beauchemin, founder of the New Hampshire Giant Pumpkin Growers Association.

Love this! Wild Rumpus!

Love this!  Wild Rumpus!
Love this! Wild Rumpus!

Brute Strength

"This is a true test of man versus nature. I mean, you see people getting into ... upwards of 900-pound pumpkins. It's just sheer brute strength that some of these pumpkins are getting across the lake.”

Windsor Organizer Vanessa Roberts

The Giant Pumpkin Regatta & Festival, on the Burlington Waterfront - Burlington, VT


The Burlington Regatta does it in big style, with Different teams of racers. Pumpkin sponsors, local celebrities, media personalities, students, and more teams paddle giant thousand-pound plus hollowed out pumpkin "boats" on Lake Champlain to compete for the Giant Pumpkin Trophy!

More on the Burlington Event

Pumpkin Fest!

Pumpkin Fest!
Pumpkin Fest!

Have you been to a Pumpkin Regatta? - Or have you heard of it before now?

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    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      Enjoyed learning of the pumpkin regatta ... looks like fun. Congratulations on your lens being featured on the Fall Harvest Fest monsterboard.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 6 years ago

      The Pumpkin Regatta looks like way too much fun!!

    • profile image

      poutine 6 years ago

      Never heard of the Pumpkin Regatta before.

      Thanks for introducing it to us.