DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Buzz Pinkham, one of the founders of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta, is crouched inside a giant pumpkin, getting ready to shove off from a dock when a reporter asks him to describe the festival.
“There’s no science behind it, just complete foolishness. And then we just built the whole weekend around foolishness,” said Pinkham, owner of a local garden center.
The festival germinated out of a conversation between two friends about growing giant pumpkins and has grown into a fun-loving, 10-day celebration of all things pumpkin. The events include everything from underwater pumpkin carving to pumpkin smashing. This year a pumpkin derby, similar to the pinewood derbies held by Cub Scouts, was added to the mix.
“We’re shooting pumpkins, we drop a 1,000-pound pumpkin from a 200-foot crane on a couple of cars, and put outboard motors on a pumpkin. I mean, a 15-horsepower motor on a pumpkin? When you got up this morning you didn’t think you were going to see that, did you?”
Pinkham estimates that 15,000 people attended this year’s festival, which ended on Columbus Day.
“We just put some foolishness out there and everybody came to watch,” said Pinkham. Then he revs up his outboard and motors away in a floating pumpkin.