It all begins in May, when hundreds of cultivated giant-pumpkin seedlings are distributed free to volunteer growers. By Columbus Day weekend, the Midcoast Maine towns of Damariscotta and Newcastle have been transformed into a living art gallery of giant decorated pumpkins. Then the insanity of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta –which runs Sept. 30 to Oct. 9 this year — begins.
After a weigh-off with big cash at stake, some of the ginormous gourds are wildly painted and adorned by dedicated imaginative artists, while others go on parade, plummet 180 feet onto derelict vehicles, or are hurled or catapulted or race down hill.
The finale is the Pumpkinboat Regatta, where hollowed-out and wildly decorated pumpkinboats are raced by costumed racers in both paddle and motorized heats before a crowd of thousands on the harbor front, accompanied by plenty of live music, food, and hilarity.
For a complete schedule of events, including the Maine Pumpkin Trail, go to damariscottapumpkinfest.com.