Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta

  • 01 of 21

    Size Matters

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta Burlington Vermont - Big Pumpkins
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Arrive early at the Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, and you'll get an up-close look at some big honkin' pumpkins... before many of these oversized specimens are transformed into pumpkin boats. You'll realize why size really does matter soon. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    A New England Fall Event You Simply Have to See

    Whenever I tell people about the Giant Pumpkin Regatta, they invariably respond: "Oh, that I'd like to see." Burlington, Vermont, is the place. And Sunday, October 7, 2012 (Columbus Day weekend) is the date if you, too, would be amused by the sight of Vermonters rowing giant, hollowed-out pumpkin boats on Lake Champlain.

    I took these photos at the 2010 Giant Pumpkin Regatta, and they'll give you a sense of this unique and slightly insane New England fall event. Seeing goop scooped from 1,000-pound pumpkins is an experience in itself. When costumed paddlers climb inside these pumpkin boats for a madcap relay race on the waters of Lake Champlain, well... let me show you in these photos, rather than spill any more seeds.

    Speaking of seeds, you'll likely be tempted to buy giant pumpkin seeds from the Vermont Giant Pumpkin Growers Association, which supplies the colossal pumpkins for the regatta. We had no luck growing our own...MORE gargantuan gourd, but there's always next year!

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 2 of 21 below.
  • 02 of 21

    What's the Weight?

    How Much Does a Giant Pumpkin Weigh?
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! I know you are wondering: How much does a giant pumpkin weigh? This champion pumpkin, which was on display but not destined for racing, weighed 1,254 pounds. Grown by Dan and Holly Boyce of Benson, Vermont, it set a Big E record in 2010. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

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  • 03 of 21

    Let the Carving Begin

    Carving Giant Pumpkins at Vermont Giant Pumpkin Regatta
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Most of the pumpkins that racers row in Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta weigh about 1,000 pounds. As you might imagine, carving a giant pumpkin is no easy feat. It takes a team, a serious knife and some strategic planning. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 4 of 21 below.
  • 04 of 21

    Great Gobs of Goop

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta - Prepping Pumpkin Boats
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Watching racers prep their pumpkin boats is half the fun of the Giant Pumpkin Regatta. You would not believe how much goop comes out of a giant pumpkin. Even dogs are curious about the labor-intensive goop scooping process. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 5 of 21 below.
  • 05 of 21

    Scent of a Pumpkin

    Scent of a Pumpkin - Carved Giant Pumpkin
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Studies have shown that men find the aroma of pumpkin pie, well... sexy. Google it! You haven't been overpowered by pumpkin, though, until you've caught a whiff of a just-carved 1,000-pounder. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 6 of 21 below.
  • 06 of 21

    Pumpkin Picasso

    Pumpkin Regatta - Giant Pumpkin Photo
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! We didn't understand why this woman was spray painting one of the hollowed-out giant pumpkins. Soon, we'd see that each boat entered in the Pumpkin Regatta had a theme. This photo shows just how thick the walls of a giant pumpkin can grow. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 7 of 21 below.
  • 07 of 21

    Will They Float?

    Giant Pumpkin Boats - VT Giant Pumpkin Regatta
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! It took a Bobcat with a crane to transport the giant pumpkin boats down to the shores of Lake Champlain, where they were carefully lowered into the water. After seeing these monster pumpkins up close, it was tough to believe they'd float. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 8 of 21 below.
  • 08 of 21

    Well, Shiver Me Timbers

    Giant Pumpkins Float - Pumpkin Regatta Picture
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Giant pumpkins DO float! Even with a pirate aboard. Each team of paddlers dresses in costume to match the theme of their pumpkin boat, and after they're introduced, they test the seaworthiness of their pumpkin vessels by navigating to the starting line. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 9 of 21 below.
  • 09 of 21

    And They're Off!

    Pumpkin Regatta Pumpkin Boat Race in Vermont
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! The first pumpkin boat race gets underway! Although the Pumpkin Regatta is a playful event, the competition is serious. Each pumpkin boat is sponsored by a local business or organization. You have to have an in if you'd like the chance to row. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 10 of 21 below.
  • 10 of 21

    Challenging Paddling

    Paddling a Giant Pumpkin - Pumpkin Regatta Photo
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Paddling a giant pumpkin isn't exactly something you can practice. Still, it was instantly apparent some competitors had a better handle on the task than others. The rower who took an early lead seemed to have skills and pumpkin hydrodynamics on his side. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 11 of 21 below.
  • 11 of 21

    Quite a Scene

    Pumpkin Regatta Lake Champlain
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Lake Champlain is a spectacular location for a Pumpkin Regatta. At least for spectators, who enjoy stunning views of the lake's shimmering waters and the autumn-spattered Adirondacks. For the rowers, though, I'll bet the water is pretty cold in October!. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 12 of 21 below.
  • 12 of 21

    Keeping Their Cool

    Pumpkin Regatta is a Fun Vermont Fall Event
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Remarkably, the Pumpkin Regatta competitors seem to keep their cool, even though the water is cold, giant pumpkin boats aren't terribly stable, and the hilarity of their undertaking must hit them at some point. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 13 of 21 below.
  • 13 of 21

    A Dead Heat

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta Picture - Giant Pumpkins in a Dead Heat
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Although one pumpkin racer took an early lead, this trio was in a dead heat in the first lap of the race. Pumpkin Regatta paddlers must navigate their giant pumpkins out to a marker, turn them around, paddle back, then trade spots with a relay partner. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 14 of 21 below.
  • 14 of 21

    Moo-mentum

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta - Ben & Jerry's Cow Team
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Can you guess which sponsor the Giant Pumpkin Regatta competitors dressed as cows represented? Venerable Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's, of course. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 15 of 21 below.
  • 15 of 21

    Row, Row, Row Your Gourd

    Pumpkin Regatta Picture
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! A utility worker, a pirate, a skier and a cowgirl... rowing giant gourds. You don't see that every day! As a spectator, it was hard not to smile at the novelty of the Pumpkin Regatta, and, as you can see, the rowers were all smiles, too. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 16 of 21 below.
  • 16 of 21

    No Steering Wheel

    Pumpkin Regatta - No Steering Wheel on These Enormous Orange Fruit Boats
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! The buoyancy of the giant pumpkins wasn't the only thing that surprised me. Racers did an impressive job of steering these enormous orange fruit boats (yes, pumpkins are technically fruit!) back to the docks for the second leg of the relay. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 17 of 21 below.
  • 17 of 21

    Unusual But Not One-of-a-Kind

    Pumpkin Regatta - Vermont Pumpkin Race is Unusual But Not One-of-a-Kind
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! I wish I could tell you Burlington, Vermont, is the only place to see a Pumpkin Regatta. But, there are people crazy enough to race giant pumpkins in Nova Scotia, Maine and Oregon, too. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 18 of 21 below.
  • 18 of 21

    For a Good Cause

    Burlington Vermont Pumpkin Regatta - For a Good Cause
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, isn't just for kicks and giggles... it's for a good cause. The race and accompanying festival raise money for the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce's PILOT youth leadership program. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 19 of 21 below.
  • 19 of 21

    Going Overboard?

    Vermont Pumpkin Regatta Picture
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! We saw some wobbly maneuvers, but not one pumpkin boat capsized during the first round of races at the 2010 Giant Pumpkin Regatta. © 2010 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 20 of 21 below.
  • 20 of 21

    Giddyap, Pumpkin!

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Vermont - Horse Pumpkin Boat
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! Remember that pumpkin we watched being spray-painted brown? It became this trusty horse, which was one of the most creative of the pumpkin boats at the Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington. © 2011 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.

    Continue to 21 of 21 below.
  • 21 of 21

    A Festival, Too!

    Giant Pumpkin Regatta and Festival Columbus Day Weekend in Vermont
    ••• Vermont's Giant Pumpkin Regatta: This, You Have to See! While the giant pumpkin races on the lake are the event's highlight, the Giant Pumpkin Regatta & Festival, held the Sunday of Columbus Day weekend, also features craft vendors, food booths, kids' activities, contests and more giant pumpkin fun. © 2011 Kim Knox Beckius

    The Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Burlington, Vermont, is an unforgettable event. The pumpkins are larger than life, and the paddlers are awfully good sports.