You may be wondering what on earth pumpkins have to do with regattas. Plenty, here in Damariscotta, Maine. The 13th Annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, voted “Best Fall Festival in Maine” by Travel and Leisure magazine in 2017, is a widely popular event designed to educate the community on the best way to grow Atlantic Giant Pumpkins. This annual event is so popular, that it has been featured in multiple TV shows, such as ABC’s “The Chew” in 2012, CBS News “Sunday Morning” show in 2013, as well as The Travel Channel, The Discovery Channel, German Public Radio, and BBC’s “Global Guide,” among others. Held for ten days in early October through Columbus Day weekend, this fun family festival provides more than horticultural education. The 10-15,000 visitors enjoy a variety of activities, like pie-eating contests, pumpkin carving, a parade, and the Pumpkinboat Regatta, while raising funds for the coastal community.
One of the highlights of this popular annual festival is the Pumpkinboat Regatta. Would you believe that participants paddle and race their 400-700 pound, hollowed-out pumpkins down the Damariscotta Harbor? This race is definitely one not to be missed, and will also be live-fed into the local theater for those who would like to watch it from there.
Here are just some of the fantastic festival events.
- Oct. 5 from 7am to 12pm | Volunteer Growers Weigh-off – Measure your giant pumpkin for a chance to win the amateur title!
- Oct. 6 | Wawenock Pumpkinfest Golf Scramble – Get ready for 18 holes of golf at Wawenock Golf Club. The scramble includes: golf cart, luncheon, goodie bags, and prizes.
- Oct. 6 from 7am to 12pm | Great Pumpkin Commonwealth Official Weigh-off – This is Maine’s largest weigh-off with a total winning purse of $10,000.
- Oct. 10 at 3:45pm | Giant Pumpkin Deployment – Dozens of Atlantic Giant Pumpkins will be loaded into flatbed trucks with forklifts and driven down Main Street toward the festival sponsors’ businesses. Be sure to stroll downtown Thursday night for this great pumpkin sight.
- Oct. 11 | Artists at Work: Giant Pumpkin Carving/Painting Friday – Local Maine artists will showcase their pumpkin carving and painting talent for all to behold. Thousands will come to admire these unique works of art.
- Oct. 11 & Oct. 12 at 7pm | Conjuring Carroll, Maine’s Fun Magician & Entertainer – Watch, laugh, and be amazed as audience members volunteer to help with shows that offer comedy, sleight of hand, and clean fun.
- Oct. 12 at 2pm | Official Damariscotta Pumpkinfest “Giant Pumpkin Parade” – Watch this entertaining parade as all things pumpkin stroll down the streets.
- Oct. 12 from 3-4pm | Pumpkin Pie Eating Contests – What’s a festival without a pie eating contest? This popular event featuring pumpkin pies is hilarious and delicious.
- Oct. 13 from 9-11am | Pumpkin Derby – This 8th annual Pumpkin Derby features small, non-motorized pumpkin racers (20 lb. or less) as they race a 50-yard course in downtown Damariscotta.
- Oct. 13 from 4:30-6pm | Movie: “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” – Take in this classic fall movie at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta.
- Oct. 14 at 12pm | Damariscotta Pumpkinfest – Pumpkinboat Regatta – A popular highlight of the festival, watch participants race their pumpkinboat down the harbor.
Located only a half-mile from downtown Damariscotta, the Newcastle Inn is the perfect place to stay during the Pumpkinfest. Our elegant and comfortable accommodations offer beautiful views of the Damariscotta River, a delicious homemade breakfast each morning, and plenty of amenities to enhance your stay. Book your room today or contact us for more information.