The Second Annual Pumpkinboat Regatta, held in 2008, was the topic of an in-depth segment on Discovery Channel's "Wreckreation Nation". It was there that the rules were explained as "there are no rules and no fouls, other than that the pumpkin needs to float and needs to go really fast"! Described as the "extreme sport of gardening," this real-life jack-in-the- beanstalk sport has been seen by over 20,000 fans, including U.S. Senator Susan Collins and WCSH's Bill Green. Visitors have flocked to Damariscotta since then to watch giant gourds -steered by captains either paddling or powered by "wicked nice motors"- ply the waters of the Damariscotta River.
In 2012, a reporter for the ABC afternoon talk show The Chew participated in the Sixth Annual Pumpkinboat Regatta, and the entire Damariscotta Pumpkinfest was covered on their October show.
In 2013, CBS News - Sunday Morning show featured the regatta in an in-depth segment! The top three winners in the Powerboat Division in 2013 included Christian Rioux, Buzz Pinkham and Tom Lishness, respectively.
The Eighth Annual Pumpkinfest Regatta will kick off at around 1:30 p.m., depending on the tides. Races are launched from the Damariscotta Harbor Public Landing, and will be held on the Monday of the Columbus Day weekend (per tides).
There are 2 divisions in the regatta: the "Paddleboat" and the "Powerboat" Divisions. Paddleboat races consist of several heats, with a final overall heat to determine the winner. Depending on participation, there also may be a relay team contest.
In the Powerboat division, the pumpkinboats are actually outfitted with a 5-10 hp outboard motor, resulting in a crowd-pleasing and memorable race. All teams in both divisions will be competing for the coveted "Golden Gourd" trophies.
Yet another exciting regatta event which debuted in 2011, and MAY be repeated depending on participation, is "Pumpkinboat Polo"! This event consists of a competition where the objective is to retrieve a specific colored ball, using a "smelt net", from a center corral and place that ball -- one at a time -- into each of four perimeter rings. The first participant to place all four balls into each of the four perimeter rings wins!
The regatta can be viewed harbor-side, or via a "live feed" into The Lincoln Theater, where spectators are able to watch the event, seated in the warmth and comfort of the historic theater.
Interested Squashbucklers are encouraged to contact Bill Clark at 207-563-8512 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All Regatta participants must sign a waiver, as well as attend a captains meeting prior to the Regatta, for a detailed safety briefing.