How did you celebrate Columbus Day? In the true spirit of the day, much like Christopher Columbus, I jumped in a vessel to sail the ocean blue. Well, it was actually a river feeding into the nearby Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine. But it was overcast with a high of 50 degrees – the skies were not blue. Rather than sailing the Santa Maria, I paddled a 490lb Giant Pumpkin in the 1st Annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta. And my crew was all of two land lovers (Ron and Scott) who help get me in and out of tight quarters.
My competition was two young, agile ladies. It was a photo finish but my last minute heroics made me the winner with bragging rights until next Columbus Day. Actually, it was a blast. Unlike last year in Nova Scotia when I had to lean to one side to prevent capsizing, this pumpkin was perfectly designed and much lighter. I couldn’t have tipped this one even if I tried. Growing Giant Pumpkins is a real art, Al Berard grows some of the best and did me well this year. Enjoy the photos and if you are in Maine Columbus Day, stop by Damariscotta to cheer me on.
We are declaring this Pumpkintober. The pumpkin is the symbol of the color and joy of the season. Most calendars feature a pumpkin-ish shot during the month. Many fairs and festivals are build around this gourde. The record for growing a Giant Pumpkin was around 1,330 pounds. In Topsfield Mass. a new monster was born , weighed and crowned the champ at 1,689 lbs. Growing these is a labor of love. They require a certain mix of sun, shade, water and nutrients. You have to care for them every day of the growing season and then protect them for predators. The pumpkin I paddled was chewed by a porcupine but Al was able to patch it and it worked well for me. But, these can crack, become diseased and my hat goes off to gardeners who can grow and show them.