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Pumpkin Paddle Parade 2014

2014-10-29

Pumpkin Paddle Parade 2014

The Great Pumpkin

Wednesday evening had us back at University Lake for another BREC Outdoor Adventure event: the first annual Pumpkin Paddle Parade.

It’s been a few weeks since we helped out with BREC Outdoor Adventure’s Paddling In Pink event.  That was a blast, so there was no way we were going to miss the Pumpkin Paddle Parade, now, was there?  We figured that it would be an excellent opportunity to get PaddleBR noticed a bit, too.  It’s amazing how expensive giant pumpkins are, but when you can stop by the fabric store and pick up a full 10-yard bolt of orange broadcloth for a mere $15 (coupon for the win!), things start looking up.  All it takes after that is spending an entire Saturday on the serger and sewing machine (with various other bits thrown in), and tada!  Instant pumpkin.

Pumpkin on deck!

As soon as we arrived at Wampold Park, we could tell it was going to be an interesting day.  The Paddling In Pink event had some rather dandy winds, and by the feel of it, the Pumpkin Paddle Parade was right up there, too.  Naturally, I would be paddling three canoes and a giant pumpkin-sail.  At least the wind was conveniently out of the north again: the outbound leg would be the hard one, and I could practically sail back under wind power alone.

Station-keeping in the wind.

We had a quick briefing before hitting the water, and then everyone went to their vessels to line up.  There were quite a few paddleboards, a few kayaks, and three canoes (which, coincidentally, seems to be the number I was paddling).  Well, one of the kayaks was almost a canoe, and more canoes (and kayaks) came a bit later.  Many of the paddlers were costumed, and several boards were bedecked with various shiny or fun accessories.  One even had music, although I was rather out of hearing from that one for most of the run.

Pumpkin Paddle Parade about to depart.

There was even a pirate ship paddleboard complete with captain and two crew, who were getting quite seasoned at making a good “Arr!” (far ahead, in red).

Avast!

It was just a bit difficult keeping up with the paddleboarders, but I wasn’t *too* shabby.  Mike had much less trouble in his kayak, and he even had time to pause for photos (thanks, Mike!).  Once we made the turn and were headed back, paddling my float got much easier.  (Did it ever!)  At one point I felt like I was towing a bit askew.  I looked back to discover that I had acquired one of the paddleboarders, who was now hanging on.  He *so* wanted to get in, but he was repeatedly denied permission to board (judging by the conversation I heard behind me).  Apparently the disagreement was eventually resolved in his favor (one way or another), as when I was making my arrival turn back upwind, I noticed an unoccupied board and a distinct increase in my number of souls on board.

All ashore.

It seems the PaddleBR Great Pumpkin float was a success.  We saw people stopping on the street to point and take pictures, and it seemed a rather popular photo op at the park.  I left it up for a while after things were wrapping up, and a few people took the opportunity to get in photos with it.  (Kids seemed to really like to climb under and into the pumpkin, which, I must admit, *was* really cool.)  It won a trophy, too, for best canoe.  (Logistics note: When taking down a giant lighted pumpkin after an evening trip up and down a lake, there’s a chance there may be just a few bugs on it and inside.  Just a few.)

The first annual Pumpkin Paddle Parade was a rousing success.  We’re quite looking forward to next year, perhaps even with a bit less wind for the PaddleBR Great Pumpkin float.  (By the way, I heard from several people about feeling sorry for the poor guy out there fighting all that wind with that big pumpkin-sail and all.  No worries, folks, it’s what I do, and I had an absolute blast.  Can’t wait to do it again.)

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