ANOTHER SEARCH FOR THE GREAT PUMPKIN IN OREGON

photo courtesy of tualatinoregon.gov

SEE THE UPDATE BELOW AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE

Life moves pretty fast, it’s been said. These five minutes of your life may be radically different than the next five minutes of your life. Things happen unexpectedly, and you find yourself walking down another path than you were just five minutes before. The only answer to this certain situation is to live for the moment. Find each and every single thing that helps you to live fully and with intention and purpose that you can find. Find a reason to try something new and laugh.

“A day without laughter is a day wasted” – Charlie Chaplin

Okay, who would NOT laugh while paddling a giant pumpkin? The very thought of it makes me laugh. For the entire month of October this year, I’ve had one of my “pipedreams”….that is, I can’t help but wonder how much fun it would to take part in a giant pumpkin regatta. I just LOVE the sound of this kind of race, where one hollows out an 800 pound pumpkin and paddles it on a lake while wearing a costume.

Evidently this is a thing in the United States. Somewhere in Maine, Nova Scotia, Utah, and Oregon this is done on an annual basis each October. Oregon gets my vote for next year maybe, once the travel restrictions are lifted. Why Oregon? Because I have never been there, and it is one of the remaining twelve states I have yet to visit in order to visit all fifty states in my lifetime. About a half hour from Portland, Oregon, in the town of Tualatin, farmers grow giant pumpkins in preparation for the race. Growers enter the race and after the first heat of the race, they allow spectators to paddle the pumpkins after giving them a life jacket and paddles to borrow. Participants must be in costume, too! Again, count me IN! There was no race this year because of the pandemic, but the race is already scheduled for October 16 next year. Again, count me IN!

Life is short; carpe diem, friends…..find something new to make you laugh and stretch yourself to do something you haven’t done before.

UPDATE: 10/26/22

I entered the lottery in September 2022 to be chosen as a paddler for the Giant Pumpkin Regatta in Tualatin, Oregon on October 16. I was thrilled to learn that I was chosen as one of approximately 20 paddlers out of 200 applicants to race in the regatta. I quickly accepted and made my travel arrangements to Tualatin, Oregon, which is near Portland.

On the day of the race, I got into my pumpkin, which was grown and donated by the Giant Pacific Pumpkin Growers, for my race (one of five) and tipped over in the water! It was both silly and fun. After adjusting my seating in the pumpkin, I paddled like crazy and actually WON my heat in the race! I was told that choosing the pumpkin is 60% of the win, as larger pumpkins tend to have more drag and be difficult to win. My pumpkin was NOT favored to win. When I won with a pumpkin that had not been a “winner” in the previous 4 races of the day, a Giant Pacific Pumpkin Grower said he didn’t know how I won the race and it had to be “superhuman strength or willpower”. I said it was DEFINITELY NOT superhuman strength and must have been willpower OR magic, as I was dressed as Cinderella’s fairy godmother.

The event was fun, and the festival brings in about 20,000 – 25,000 people a year and felt safe. The pumpkin race was held in a circular pond, around which spectators watched and cheered. It was great to hear strangers cheering for me, telling me I could do it when I got tired. It was an amazing day, in an amazing town with some amazing people that I will never forget.

When was the last time you did something for the first time? Life is good; enjoy something whimsical today if you can. Carpe diem, friends…

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