Row, row, row your…pumpkin.

We all know this supreme squash can be made into tasty pancakes and pies and can be cleverly carved into spooky jack-o-lanterns for Halloween. But, a pumpkin boat? If you haven’t been hanging around the patch you might not know about pumpkin regattas. At this annual harvest event, giant pumpkins are hollowed out to make a boat and dressed up as planes, pirate ships and even oversized footballs! The costumed captains of each boat grab their paddles and race each other to the finish line, hoping they will squash the competition along the way. It’s a sight to behold.

Damariscotta Pumpkin RegattaDamariscotta Pumpkin Regatta

So, where do you go to watch a pumpkin regatta? The festivals are held in different towns and cities across the U.S. Now in its fifth year, the Giant Pumpkin Regatta Festival takes place in Burlington, VT, and will be held on Sunday, October 7th at noon. You can catch the 1,000+ pound pumpkins paddle their way across Lake Champlain while sampling local fall treats, shopping craft vendors and taking in the pet costume contest. Walking distance from the festivities is the Willard Street Inn, a 3-story Victorian with breathtaking views of the Adirondack Mountains. You can admire the foliage blanketing the mountains or get up close and personal to fall’s finest hues around the inns sprawling English gardens.

Willard Street Inn, Burlington, VTWillard Street Inn, Burlington, VT

Participants of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta will begin hollowing, carving and decorating their pumpkin boats on October 5th and 6th before putting on their game face and joining the other competitors on October 8th at the Damariscotta Harbor. Don’t forget to catch the Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest or Underwater Pumpkin Carving before returning to The Bradley Inn located nearby in Maine’s Mid-Coast Region. After a full day of fun, you can share a few regatta stories over a drink at the inn’s tavern or relax by the fire in one of their Carriage House Rooms.

Watching gargantuan gourds being paddled all the way to the finish line is one way to celebrate the season. If you’re looking for more autumn ideas, there are fall getaway packages for foliage viewing, wine harvest tours and more.

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