How Damariscotta Pumpkinfest competitors turn giant pumpkins into boats

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest competitors (WGME)

DAMARISCOTTA (WGME) -- Columbus Day weekend in Damariscotta is like nowhere else on earth. Over two days, gigantic gourds are carved up and hollowed out.

"I work at Bath Iron Works, so we engineer destroyers by day and build pumpkins boats on Columbus Day,” Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Founder Bill Clark said.

There's an art to finding the right pumpkin.

"It took us a while to figure out how to do it,” Clark said.

"You want something that, ideally, is large enough, over 800-900 pounds,” Pumpkin boar building Russell Orms said.

It needs to be big enough for someone to sit inside and stay afloat.

"It's a little like racing a beach ball. The pumpkin floats very well, doesn’t float as well with you in it, it wants to throw you off,” Orms said.

As a few people over the years have experienced

"Ready... set... get wet! And sure enough, someone does,” Orms said.

But the fun is in the design. One division is even building a platform to mount a motor on the back.

"We've gone back to what I call the ‘toilet seat version.’ We cut a piece of plywood and bolt it to the top. It's kind of a round toilet seat looking thing,” Clark said.

They may not be the prettiest pumpkins, but those at helm seem to be having a pretty good time.

"It's not about going fast, it's not about where you place, it's about putting on a show for the crowd, just making sure the crowd is happy because you don't see this every day,” Clark said.

The Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta is Monday at noon.

CBS 13’s Chief Meteorologist Charlie Lopresti and Meteorologist Amanda Jellig will have their pumpkin boat in the race. They will be competing against other meteorologists from Portland.

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