Pumpkin-paddling headmaster wins Windsor regatta

The headmaster of King's-Edgehill School has won the 13th annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
The 13th annunal pumpkin regatta in Windsor saw 33 pumpkins (and people) cross Pesaquid Lake. (Courtesy of Dave Carmichael)

The headmaster of King's-Edgehill School has won the 13th annual Pumpkin Regatta in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

In total, 43 giant hollowed gourds took to the water Sunday afternoon, but only 33 made it across Pesaquid Lake.

This is the fourth year Joe Seagram has taken part in the event but it's his first win.

Chip Peterson finished second, while wearing a pumpkin helmet.

Last year's winner — Anthony Cook — came in third.

Organizer Vanessa Roberts said it takes athletic skill to participate.

"We actually call them PVCs — personal vegetable crafts," said Roberts.

"This is a true test of man versus nature. I mean, you see people getting into ... upwards of 900-pound pumpkins. It's just sheer brute strength that some of these pumpkins are getting across the lake."

Roberts said there are even entries where there are two people getting into one pumpkin.

"It's a lot of fun to watch," she said.

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.
Courtesy of Dave Carmichael.

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 pumpkin paddling capped off a full day of pumpkin-related events in Windsor.