When I received a call to cover a regatta in Tualatin, Oregon, I wasn’t aware that the suburb town outside of Portland had a regatta. The slow moving Tualatin River does run through the heart of town, but it is not navigatable to anything other than rafts, rowboats and kayaks. So when I questioned the assignment editor as to where the regatta would be held, I was a bit surprised to hear that the regatta would be held in the town’s small Lake at the Commons…and I was even more surprised to hear that the rowers would not be racing sleek, high-tech sculls but will be rowing in pumpkins…giant pumpkins.
It was the third annual Giant Pumpkin Regatta sponsored by the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers Association. Giant vegetable growers are a competitive bunch, as every year they attempt to top each other by growing the largest pumpkin, even competing on a national and world basis. The current world record giant pumpkin tops out at 1,504 pounds. So as the growing season winds down, the growers extend their competitive nature by carving out giant pumpkins, jumping inside them and race around the Lake at the Commons in Tualatin. It’s quite an event, one that can only be witnessed, not described.