Pumpkin paddlers race giant gourds in 15th Windsor regatta

Pumpkin paddlers took to the water, vying for the chance to race their massive gourds in the 15th annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor, N.S on Sunday.

Racers hollow out giant gourds and race across Lake Pesaquid

Paddlers took to the waters of Lake Pesaquid in Windsor in the annual regatta where people hollow out giant pumpkins and race across the lake. 11:33

Pumpkin paddlers took to the water, vying for the chance to race their massive gourds in the 15th annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor, N.S on Sunday.

The annual festival kicked off Sunday morning with a sprint canoe/kayak race, followed by a parade of paddlers.

There are a variety of different races — all involve participants getting inside hollowed-out giant pumpkins and either paddling or motoring them across Lake Pesaquid.

The history of giant pumpkins in Nova Scotia began on the farm of Howard Dill. Dill was a four-time Guinness Book of World Records holder and developer of the internationally-recognized Atlantic Giant pumpkin seeds.

According to the festival's website, in 1999, local citizens approached Howard Dill’s son Danny Dill about the possibility of expanding on the fall tourism season and raising Windsor’s profile as the world pumpkin capital.

The younger Dill suggested racing pumpkins across Pesaquid Lake and so it began. He passed away in 2008, but the tradition continues and draws thousands each year to watch and partake in the Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival.

The annual tradition has growers compete to see who can grow the heaviest gourds. After a weigh-off, the growers hollowed out the pumpkins to turn them into boats — and as usual thousands of people came out to watch.

The event is considered by many to be the highlight of the fall season.

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