2016-09-29 / Front Page

The return of the great pumpkin(s)

Sanford Great Pumpkin Festival debuts Saturday
By TAMMY WELLS
Senior Staff Writer


Sanford Mayor Tom Cote and Synergize Sanford President Lucas Lanigan check out the giant pumpkins that will be hollowed out, decorated and paddled in a regatta at Number One Pond Saturday as part of Sanford’s Great Pumpkin Festival. An array of pumpkin-themed events, including an official weigh-off by the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization, a pumpkin catapult – and more – are on tap for the day-long fall festival. 
TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune Sanford Mayor Tom Cote and Synergize Sanford President Lucas Lanigan check out the giant pumpkins that will be hollowed out, decorated and paddled in a regatta at Number One Pond Saturday as part of Sanford’s Great Pumpkin Festival. An array of pumpkin-themed events, including an official weigh-off by the Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization, a pumpkin catapult – and more – are on tap for the day-long fall festival. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune SANFORD — Think pumpkin.

A pumpkin catapult. A weigh-off of big – really big – pumpkins grown by professionals, and one for local growers. A race across the pond featuring even more giant pumpkins.

Pumpkins of all shapes and sizes – plus a car show, a kids’ zone, pony rides, a large vendor fair and more – are on tap for the Great Pumpkin Festival, set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Synergize Sanford is hosting the fall-themed, family-friendly event around Number One Pond. Organizers say it will be a good time for all.

Synergize Sanford President Lucas Lanigan said six teams have signed up to race the hollowed-out giant pumpkins across the pond at noon, with awards going to the fastest pumpkin boat and the best-looking vessel.

Among racers will be staff from Sanford Institution for Savings. Although the bank folks haven’t said just which of their employees will be sitting inside the hollowed-out pumpkin, paddle at the ready, they do promise some hearty competition.

“SIS went with a pirate ship theme – our captain will be dressed as a pirate, and our ship will be steady,” said bank spokeswoman Deborah Mullen. “Shiver me pumpkins, we may not win – but we will have fun.”

The redefined fall festival is back this year after an absence of several years. Lanigan said the group was approached by H.A. Mapes Inc. to consider a return of the popular event. The company had hosted the giant pumpkin weigh-off for the last several years after the demise of the prior pumpkin festival.

Lanigan said several businesses came together to sponsor portions of the festival and lend volunteers.

The Maine Pumpkin Growers Organization will host an official weigh-off at 2 p.m. Saturday. Folks should be able to see some really, really big pumpkins weighing hundreds of pounds; some topping the 1,000-lb. mark. The winner of the weigh-off earns a $1,000 prize.

There’s a contest for local growers too, with cash prizes in the offing, Lanigan said.

“Sanford in the fall really has a lot to offer, and this is a great way for the community to come together and enjoy the outdoors and see some of the best of Sanford,” said Mayor Tom Cote. “We’re looking to see community members come out and enjoy the event.”

Lanigan said he’s looking forward to the giant pumpkin regatta.

“It’s fun to see local businesses put (their) people in these pumpkins,” he said.

The festival is also a fundraiser and awareness builder for local nonprofits. Attending will be the Sanford Springvale Youth Athletic Association, the Red and White Foundation, Sanford Maine Stage, the YMCA and a host of others.

Professional pumpkin carver Moe Auger will begin his art at 10 a.m.; crafters and other vendors open their booths at the same time. The car show also has a 10 a.m. start, and remote-control boat racers will put their skills to the test in Number One Pond from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The pumpkin regatta starts at noon, and the pumpkin catapult starts at 2 p.m.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or twells@journaltribune.com.

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