Growing giant gourds is a longtime hobby for John Young, so much that he wanted to feature them publicly.
"A few growers got together and thought let's paddle our pumpkins," said Young of the Vermont Giant Pumpkin Growers.
And so began the popular Vermont Pumpkin Regatta, attracting hundreds to the Burlington waterfront every October.
"We got our pumpkins down on the waterfront, then all of the sudden people started showing up and we were sort of amazed by that," Young said.
Massive pumpkins held their weight in Lake Champlain for the last five years. But this year things have changed; the regatta is canceled and the public was never told.
"It certainly wasn't intentional on our behalf to not announce it, but I don't think it was really in our thought process that we needed to or that we should," Young explained.
Young, the main organizer, didn't want to do it anymore and no one would step up to fill his shoes. It takes a year of planning and is becoming too expensive to host.
"Maybe we should really look at this," Young said. "We've had a really successful five years with it and maybe we should take a year off and sort of rethink maybe do we want to do the same event? Do we want to bring a different event to the waterfront? What's our future?"
The Skinny Pancake and other businesses were privately informed of the cancellation, but say they will miss it this year.
"I'm bummed, I'm bummed," said Benjy Adler of the Skinny Pancake. "I'm sure they have good reasons and it's not really just about our business, it's about a thriving, beautiful and shining Burlington. It's such a fun, fun event."
And despite the challenges, Young hopes the opportunity to paddle gourds returns next fall.
"We heard a lot of words like bucket list," Young said. "Have you ever rode a pumpkin before? Things I need to do before I pass by this Earth is ride a giant pumpkin in the water."
A popular event treading water that hopes to come back full throttle.
The decision to cancel was made this winter between the growers association, Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce and nonprofit organization Navo-Cate.
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