Large Pumpkin Regatta crowds expected in Tualatin
This year's 16th Annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta — which traditionally is the largest single one-day, city-sponsored event in Washington County — kicks off Friday with two days of activities planned.
On Friday, Oct. 18, Pumpkins & Pints will be held at Tualatin's Stickmen Brewing Co., 19475 S.W. 118th Ave. The event, which begins at 5 p.m., will include the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers' Terminator Weigh-Off competition to determine the largest pumpkin brought to the event. Between 20 and 25 of the huge gourds will be carved out for Saturday's races.
Before the final pumpkin is weighed, two raffle tickets will be drawn Friday night at Stickmen Brewery to select two more individuals eligible to paddle in Saturday's competition. Tickets are $2 apiece or 10 for $18.
A 1,000-person capacity limit has been set for inside the brewery.
"Pumpkins and Pints will be exciting because it will be inside Stickmen, so it will be dry," said Heidi Marx, an event specialist with the city who helps coordinate the regatta event. "I assume it's going to be very crowded about 11 p.m."
While The Weather Channel is predicting an 80% chance of rain Saturday, Oct. 19, Tualatin officials don't believe it will be enough to cancel the event, something that occurred in 2016 due to predicted high winds.
On Saturday, festival activities begin at 10:30 a.m. with a costume contest at Tualatin Commons Lake. The first pumpkin races begin at noon, two hours earlier than previous races.
"I love it," Marx said of the annual gathering. "It's a free community event."
Last year's regatta attracted between 20,000 to 25,000 people who surrounded the lake in 70-degree weather. Those spectators were about 10 deep, she noted.
The goal of the race is to paddle around the lake first without getting dumped in the lake, which is about 9 feet deep in the center.
This year, 150 people applied for the lottery-selected race with 23 selected to race, said Marx.
That first noon race is specifically reserved for members of the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers and regatta sponsors. A 2 p.m. race features the Tualatin Police Department and Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue personnel against those lottery winners.
Other events at the festival include a real fishing pond sponsored by Cabela's, pumpkin checkers, a pie-eating contest and more.
Marx said the city received several accolades and awards for last year's event.
"We just found out we're included in National Geographic's top seven fall events in the country," she said. "And we're the only one on the West Coast."
In addition, regatta photographer and Tualatin Police Officer Eric Hermann was recently named a category winner for "best promotional photograph" by the International Festival and Events Association. Also, the city won in the "best gift" category for giving its sponsors hand-blown glass pumpkins created by Andy Nichols from The Dalles.
Marx said the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta will also be covered by PBS's "Wild Travels," which celebrates unusual festivals and events.
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