WINDSOR, N.S. – Every year, thousands of people descend upon the Little Town of Big Firsts to watch something truly extraordinary: the WIndsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta.
Now in its 20th year – we've decided to offer up a guide for people planning to check it out, whether for the first or 20th time.
Here's a list of things to do, check out, or reasons to give it a try for the first time on Oct. 14.
1. Giant pumpkins. Yes, this might seem obvious, but they're still a sight to behold. Developed at the Dill Family Farm and grown across the country, these titanic gourds tip the scales. The winner of this year's pumpkin came in at 556 kilograms or 1,226 pounds. The hollowed out personal vegetable crafts (PVC's) usually range around 600 pounds.
2. Expanding armada. The regatta has slowly, but surely grown in size, with dozens of floating pumpkins expected this year. Keep an eye out for clever and creative designs. And, for the first time, there’s a planned four-person craft.
3. Pumpkin Head. Fan favourite and frequent victor of the Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta is expected to attend with his signature pumpkin helmet. Will he come out on top again? Only one way to find out (other than reading about it at hantsjournal.ca later)
4. Young paddlers. It takes a lot of effort to get a massive pumpkin across the lake. The feat is even more impressive when you're a kid. Be sure to cheer extra loud for these competitors.
5. Sinking pumpkins. Look, we all know that it's great when the pumpkin paddlers make it across the lake. What's even better? When one capsizes. Don't worry, volunteer firefighters and emergency responders are on site to ensure people's safety.
6. Get in a pumpkin. Visitors will be able to get inside a giant pumpkin, courtesy the Windsor Business Enhancement Society and Mosaic Market, and take some photos. It will be fully accessible for people to try. And don’t worry, this one is staying on dry land.
7. Lake Pisiquid waterfront. Despite the thousands who attend, there's still plenty of room to watch the race – whether by the Pisiquid Canoe Club near the finish line, or over at the start in Falmouth, you shouldn't have trouble watching things unfold. Might be a good idea to arrive early to get parking.
8. Waterfront Connector. A new walkway connecting Water Street to the waterfront makes it easier than ever for pedestrians to make their way from downtown streets to the lake and back.
9. Schoolhouse Brewery. There's a craft brewery that makes delicious beer RIGHT THERE. And an outdoor patio.
10. WINEGRUNTS. Beer not your thing? No problem, grab a glass of wine at Windsor's newest wine bar. Also RIGHT THERE.
11. Local food. Forget to pack a picnic? No problem, there's an assortment of local restaurants, cafes, and more to choose from in Windsor's downtown. TAN Coffee, Lisa's Café, Lucky Italiano, The Spitfire Arms, and more.
12. Children's Wish Parade. Want to see the giant pumpkins before they head into the lake? The Children's Wish Parade is the best way to do that.
13. It's not during Thanksgiving. Once again, the organizers of the regatta have made the wise decision to hold the regatta on the weekend after Thanksgiving, allowing everyone the chance to watch the pumpkins and have their turkey, too.
14. Trecothic Creek and Windsor Railway. Miniature trains! There's nothing cuter than watching kids climb aboard and ride them along the track. Open 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on the day of the regatta. Located at 133 Centennial Dr. in the Windsor Business Park.
15. Avon Community Market Farmers' Market. Why not bring some fresh, local veggies home with you after watching the Regatta? They'll be setting up shop at the waterfront from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
16. Pisiquid Canoe Club. Can't get enough paddling? The Pisiquid Canoe Club is hosting their Pumpkin Seed Long Distance Challenge.
17. Davison Corn Maze. Head to Falmouth and get lost – in a corn maze. Open every weekend in October. 1112 Dyke Road, Falmouth.
18. Explore the world's highest tides. You'll have to head outside Windsor, perhaps to Burntcoat Head Park, home to the world's highest tides. Take that New Brunswick. Low tide anticipated at 11:22 a.m. and high tide at 5:27 p.m.
19. Fall colours. Whether you're visiting from nearby or from afar – the trip should provide a stunning display with trees bursting into reds, yellows and oranges as autumn deepens. Be sure to take a contemplative selfie with the caption #blessed.
20. Live music. Local musicians will keep the tunes pumping all afternoon.
20th Annual Pumpkin Regatta timeline
Children's Wishmaker Parade – 12 p.m. Downtown Windsor.
Opening ceremonies – 2 p.m. Lake Pisiquid.
Pumpkin Regatta – 2:15 p.m.
Rain or shine.