Nova Scotia

Windsor pumpkin regatta won't be sunk despite poor growing season

Windsor will hold its pumpkin regatta after all. It will be a different sort of event due to a pumpkin shortage, but five people will paddle a giant gourd across Pesaquid Lake.

Lottery tickets on sale for chance to participate in race; 5 giant pumpkins to be provided

The 21st annual Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta will take place despite a poor year for pumpkins. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

Folks in Windsor-West Hants will hold their beloved annual Pumpkin Regatta after all.

It will be a different sort of event due to a shortage of pumpkins this year. But five people will have the opportunity to paddle a giant gourd across Pesaquid Lake.

"The bottom line is that my community … we love pumpkins and so we still wanted to figure out a way to celebrate," said regatta spokesperson VanEssa Roberts on Friday.

Last weekend, organizers of the Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Festival cancelled the regatta because there weren't enough pumpkins suitable for racing this year.

Usually there are 50 or more participants. They require pumpkins weighing between 272-362 kilograms.

"We had people that were planning on flying in from Alberta and Montreal that wanted to paddle in the regatta," Roberts said.

Valley pumpkin farmer Danny Dill is providing five pumpkins for the regatta. (Carolyn Ray/CBC)

A wet and cold spring followed by a hot, dry summer — topped with damage from Hurricane Dorian — caused the shortage.

In fact, many crops have been badly hurt this season. Proceeds from ticket sales for the lottery to be one of the entrants in the regatta will be going to Annapolis Valley farmers, Roberts said.

"We're calling it our version of Farm Aid."

Tickets are $20 each.

Organizers have also switched the date to Saturday, Oct. 19, instead of holding it on a Sunday. A variety of activities are being held that day, including a pumpkin Olympics, food film festival and a dance, Roberts said. 

Farmer Danny Dill is supplying the pumpkins with a weigh-in scheduled for Oct. 5. A draw to pick 25 semifinalists will be held Oct. 17 and the five winners will be chosen on Oct. 19 at noon, with the race starting at 3 p.m.

"Ironically, 21 years ago there, were five intrepid souls that actually went and paddled for the very first time and proved that giant pumpkins not only floated but could be turned into boats," Roberts said.

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