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September 26, 2013

Pumpkin Regatta on Otsego Lake draws more of a 'local crowd'

The Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce hosted their annual Pumpkin Regatta at Lakefront Park on Sunday. Many people came to see the spectacle of people paddling oversize pumpkin “boats” on Otsego Lake.

The day began with people carving the pumpkins and decorating them for the race.

Chad Welch, one of the racers representing Smith Ford in Cooperstown said he and his family cut open their pumpkin with a reciprocating saw and then hollowed it using a garden spade and a ladle. This proved to be heavy work as the pumpkin had originally weighed in at 816 pounds.

After testing the pumpkin in the water, Welch said the pumpkin was still, “So heavy. I had to take some of the weight out.”

The tractor was sent into the water to fetch his pumpkin. Then Welch once again dug out some of the pumpkin “guts” in order to make the opening bigger and then joined his competitors in the water.

The pumpkins were loaded into the water via tractor, which for some kids was the highlight of the day.

When Suzanne Furman of Oneonta asked her 3-year-old son, Sawyer, what his favorite part was he said,

“The tractors!”

“He wanted to see the tractors loading the pumpkins into the water,” Furman said.

This was their 3rd year attending the race.

“It’s a nice family event outside, although the weather always seems to start out sunny and then it becomes questionable,” Furman said about the increasingly cloudy skies.

Though there were a few raindrops the rain held off for the event.

“We managed to make it through without the rain,” said Patricia Szarpa the executive director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce. “People were very excited and happy” at this event she said.

Szarpa also said that Sunday’s Pumpkinfest events hosted “more of a local crowd,” then the weigh off on Saturday.

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