Windsor Pumpkin Regatta
The Windsor Pumpkin Regatta is an annual water race held in October on Lake Pesaquid in Windsor, Nova Scotia. The course is a half mile (800 m) from start to finish. The race features brightly coloured giant pumpkins as the sole means of flotation.
Leo Swinamer of New Ross, Nova Scotia has dominated the competition, winning six out of the first ten races, including one at the age of 73. Despite his dominance, the race's popularity continues to grow, with 10,000 spectators and 60 entries in the 2008 race.
There are three classes: motor, experimental and paddling. Not all classes attract competitors each year. The paddling class is the best known and most popular in terms of entries.
The race gained a degree of notability in 2005 when Martha Stewart announced her intention to participate. While her pastel-coloured pumpkin did appear in the race, Ms Stewart could not participate as permission to enter Canada was delayed after her release from incarceration in the ImClone affair; when permission was finally granted, weather prevented her from reaching Nova Scotia on time. Various other celebrity participants have raced, notably local member of parliament Scott Brison, who has appeared in several of the races.
Windsor was not the first to feature a giant pumpkin as a water-borne craft. That distinction falls to Wayne Hackney of Winchester, New Hampshire who paddled in a pumpkin he grew in 1996. However, the regatta has inspired several other pumpkin regattas, including one at the University of Wisconsin–Madison (held since 2005) and on Lake Champlain (Colchester, Vermont).
Winners and times – human powered competition
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- Farmers Almanac The Great Pumpkin Raft Race!
- USA Today, Scott Bryson congratulates Leo Swinamer, October 14, 2007
- UPI "Racers compete in big floating pumpkins", October 13, 2008
- Nick Timiraos, Wall Street Journal, "Out of Their Gourds? Paddling Pumpkins On Lake Pesaquid", October 20, 2007
- CBC, "Leo Swinimer a winner in Martha Stewart's absence", October 10, 2005
- Festival history
- Nova News Now, Regatta 2007 a wild ride in Windsor!, October 18, 2007