Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It’s the Great Pumpkin (Race)

How would a small town in Nova Scotia, known as the birthplace of giant pumpkin growing, make the most of its unique history? What else, put on an annual “pumpkin boat” race across a lake. The town of Windsor (population 3,700) attracted 10,000 fascinated spectators to the event this year, having grown from 5 entries from the event’s inception to 54 at present.

Competitive pumpkin paddling has become surprisingly common across the U.S. and Canada. As the events grow in status, the more serious racers are looking to bred better-crafted boats. The Atlantic Giant pumpkin is not well shaped for sailing, but when cross-bred with a pink banana squash, a sleeker version can be carved.

“It’s a cranky one this year” believed 72-year old Leo Swinimer, multiple-time race winner, who he prevailed once again this year. Keeping his 600-pound pumpkin on course was a little too tricky, thus talk of his retirement is at hand. “Every year he says it’s the last one,” said his son-in-law, “but as soon as March or April comes up, he’ll be out growing them again.”