PumpkinFest has become such a wonderful tradition in Cooperstown.
The two-day event, which includes a pumpkin weigh-off and regatta, is in its seventh year and continues to grow in popularity. Pumpkins are weighed, judged, cooked, eaten, painted, carved, paddled and raced.
The weigh-off, held in the Doubleday parking lot, attracts giant fruit growers from throughout New York state and the Northeast. The giant pumpkins and other fruit are trucked in to see which one will tip the scales the most and perhaps become a record holder.
The world’s largest pumpkin, according to pumpkinnook. com, is 1,810.5 pounds. That record belongs to Chris Stevens of New Richmond, Wis. He won the title at the Stillwater Harvest fest in Stillwater, Minn., on Oct. 9, 2010. No records were broken at this year’s event, but getting up and close to the giants is never a disappointment. If you have never gone, it truly is a sight to see.
Even more unique is getting to see several of the pumpkinsraced in Otsego Lake the following morning. Let’s face it; it is not every day you get to see people paddle a pumpkin across water. That opportunity comes once a year here in Cooperstown, however.
Word is obviously getting around about this event because more and more spectators come each year, and finding a place to actually get to see the competition is hard. You need to find high ground or something to stand on to be able to see it.
The most exciting part might possibly be watching staff and participants get pumpkins into the water and seeing if they are going to float or not. They typically begin that process at around 11 a.m. and there is a little more room for observation.
The community is lucky to have such an event, but it would be nice to make it more enjoyable for visitors. Yes, the entertainment is free, and there is a lot to do down at the lakefront other than watch the races, but that is the main attraction people want to see. Perhaps a large video screen or using a different location of the lake would make for an even better event, especially if it continues to grow.