DAMARISCOTTA, Maine — Alice Andrenyak planted seeds in May for the giant disco pumpkin she rowed across Damariscotta Harbor on Monday afternoon.

On the Fourth of July, she hand-pollinated the tubes that became three pumpkins, then closed them off “so no bees get to them,” she said.

For the past three months, the Brunswick woman cultivated the organic pumpkins, with her eye set on Monday.

“Five hours a day,” she said when asked how to grow a giant pumpkin. “You’re feeding it, watering it, trimming it, telling it where it wants to go.”

On Monday afternoon she and partner Sandy Carleton joined a handful of fellow good sports dressed up and soaking wet as part of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest and Regatta.

The team, including Dylan Jacobson of Brunswick, hollowed out the 425-pound Disco Ball, Jacobson built a rudder of plywood, expansion foam and nuts and bolts, and then they decorated — the pumpkin and themselves.

Prior to the relay, Andrenyak stood with other entrants under a tent.

“I’ve got a pumpkin that wants to go over,” she said. “She’s very flat-bottomed.”

Shortly after noon, dressed in a white polyester jumpsuit with a silver tinsel wig, Andrenyak rowed the Disco Ball in the individual race, then joined Carleton — in a DayGlo double knit outfit — for the relay, paddling from the town dock around a floating pumpkin buoy and back to the dock.

While not the largest giant orange orb at this year’s annual gourd gala — Elroy Morgan of Charleston broke the state record at 1,756 pounds — and not the winner, the 425-pound Disco Ball still thrilled Andrenyak, who was proud and “super, super excited” to have grown all-organic.

Earlier during the weekend, growers weighed their pumpkins, paraded them down Main Street, raced them in a pumpkin derby, ate them in pie and pancakes and catapulted and slingshot them at a local farm.

Artists carved intricate designs into the largest of the gourds. Holding court outside King Eider Pub was another pumpkin grown by Morgan and painted into a haunting jack-o’-lantern by artist Glenn Chadbourne.

Next door, outside Renys, artist Melissa Glendinning had carved a scene from Stephen King’s book and movie, “It,” into a 1,425.5-pound pumpkin grown by Joseph Gaboury.

But Monday’s regatta drew the largest crowd, despite the near-constant rain.

Lisa Evans and Timothy Smith of Roslindale, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, dressed in pumpkin vines, but came to the regatta minus a pumpkin.

“It’s still growing,” Smith said of the “beach-ball-sized” pumpkin that just wasn’t big enough this year. Instead, they planned to borrow a giant pumpkin for the regatta — their eighth, Evans said. The two are urban farmers, Smith said, and operate WeGrowUrbanGreens.com.

Thirteen years ago, Buzz Pinkham started the regatta sailing a single pumpkin across the water.

“They thought we were crazy,” he said in 2015. “But we had two boats the second year … the third year the town got involved, and in 2007, we had the first festival.”

The pumpkins are due to remain along Main Street for awhile longer, and will be removed between Oct. 16 and Oct. 26, according to organizers.

Winners of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Regatta were as follows:


Heat 1, Jaja Martin, Sarah Whitty, Alice Andrenyak

Heat 2, Dale Harrt, Todd Sandstum, Margaret Ivins


Heat 1, Sarah Whitty and Dale Harrt, JaJa Martin and Robert Watts, Alice Andrenyak and Sandy Carleton

Heat 2, Jim Souza and Todd Sandstrum, Margaret Ivins and Taylor Kann, Tim Smith and Lisa Evans


1st place, Cappy Dean, Colby and Gale

2nd place, Buzz Pinkham, My Little Pony

3rd place, Russell Oms, The Viking

4th place, Tom Lishness, The Gnome Boat