A fall festival known for its giant pumpkins, quirky pumpkin boat races and pumpkin smashing catapult event, has decided to call it quits because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta announced this week that they have decided to cancel Pumpkinfest 2020.

The event, based in Damariscotta, draws thousands of people to the midcoast region. This year’s Pumpkinfest was scheduled for Oct. 9-12.

Members of the festival’s organizing committee in a Facebook post said they have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic in the hope of safely hosting the celebration, but after considering how much effort it would take to stage Pumpkinfest and given Gov. Mills’ plan to open the state’s economy in phases that could stretch into September, the decision was made to cancel.

“Even though sadly we have had to make the decision to cancel Pumpkinfest 2020, as an expression of our hope in the future, and our agricultural mission, we encourage people to grow giant pumpkins this year in their gardens,” the Committee said.

Organizers said they will be distributing free giant pumpkin seedlings from May 16 through May 30 at Pinkham’s Plantation, 431 Biscay Road, Damariscotta and at the Louis Doe Home Center at 92 Mills Road, Newcastle. People interested in growing giant pumpkins can visit the Pumpkinfest website for information on how to grow an oversized pumpkin.

At least year’s festival, Edwin Pierpont of Jefferson set a new festival record for largest pumpkin. The five-time state champion pumpkin grower displayed a gourd that weighed 1,852.5 pounds, squashing his previous record of 1,471 pounds set in 2010.

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