Some folks jump-start fall by adding pumpkin-flavored everything into just about everything. We can’t help but jump on the bandwagon ourselves. Instead, though, we’re jumping into giant pumpkins with the Annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta (October 20; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; free admission).
While a Giant Pumpkin Regatta may sound like a regal affair, this special day veers more to the wonderfully absurd. Thousands of pumpkin-lovers come to watch this annual race of 1,000-plus pound hallowed pumpkins—with people inside them—buoying across the water.
Giant Pumpkin Growing Contest
The logistics might seem a little hazy; so, we’ll walk you through the day. Upon trucks hauling giant pumpkins to the race site, the enormous gourds are forklifted to sit alongside each other for the Annual Terminator Weigh-Off. Upon declaring a winner, the pumpkin owners engage in the most epic pumpkin carving session you have ever seen, scooping out seeds by the gallons.
West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta
Instead of filling the pumpkins with lights for a jack-o-lantern the owners instead place themselves inside the hollowed out orange orbs. The regatta offers different races, with some focusing on speed while others are game-oriented. It’s not all frolic and frenzy, though. The West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta is an art form, requiring a certain finesse. Past winners have stressed the importance of the carefully monitored soil, watering, and weeding required to grow a prize-winning and speedy gourd.
Other Pumpkin Treats
Giddy from the raucous of the Giant Pumpkin Regatta, the crowd moves on to a cornucopia of other activities, including a pie-eating contest, pumpkin decorating, and live music. For a fully fleshed out weekend of fall delights, our fall guide includes tips on other activities happening nearby. If you really go ga-ga for gourds, then a nearby pumpkin patch is waiting for you in all of its pumpkin spice glory.
P.S. The Century Hotel overlooks the Regatta action, which makes it the perfect place to lay your pumpkin-head.