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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Ginormous Pumpkin Race

Me, next to my Moby Dick-themed giant pumpkin boat for the 2011 race.

If it’s Columbus Day Weekend, that means it is also time for the Damariscotta Giant Pumpkin Regatta. In the 1998 Farmers’ Almanac we carried a story about an unusual new pumpkin — one that could grow to 800 and 900 lbs, and maybe even 1000! Howard Dill of Windsor, Nova Scotia was behind the effort of bigger being better in the world of pumpkin rowing. With all of these ginormous pumpkins, the question was what to do with them. Until, that is,Howard and family discovered that if you put them in the water, they will float like a boat. If it floats like a boat, why not race the monsters?

 

So, in 2006 we ran a story about Pumpkin Paddling on Lake Pezaquid in Windsor. Since I taught canoeing and kayaking, I believed that I could paddle with the best of them. I entered the race in 2007, finishing 19th out of 40. Despite my disappointing performance, I caught the pumpkin racing bug. Since then I have participated in Damariscotta, Maine’s annual Giant Pumpkin Race. So, this Sunday under clear 70 degree skies, I will partake in this year’s race. In the past, my pumpkin has been decorated to be a cow, space shuttle, beaver, turtle and sunflower. This time we are Moby Dick. My”ship” weighs in at 535 lbs.

I’m nervous — as always! No matter how unique the pumpkin, until it gets put into the water and you squeeze into it, there is no telling how it will paddle, or even if it will even float upright at all. But, the fun is to be part of this Olympic event. So many people go to watch that the organizers are live streaming it to an auditorium so more people can view it. I am told the Associated Press, Travel Channel and maybe Discovery will be on-hand to witness this grand sporting event.

Scott Gooding does the decorating honors. We always have the best looking vehicle. For more specific you can go to www.damariscottapumpkinfest.com. I’ll be back next week to share an update on how the race went.

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.