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Reyanna Broadhurst of Londonderry, tosses a pumpkin to her brother Teige, as the two compete in the Pumpkin Toss event at the Giant Pumpkin Weigh-off and Regatta Sunday afternoon in Goffstown. Mark Bolton/Union Leader 

Annual Goffstown regatta features floating fruit

GOFFSTOWN - Skies cleared just in time for this year's Giant Pumpkin Regatta, as the fire department unseated The Goffstown News as this year's champion.

Ten giant, hollowed-out pumpkins were transformed into individual boats powered by motors and paddles, as various community organizations floated to the finish line in the Piscataquog River at the Goffstown Main Street Program's annual event.

The Regatta also raised funds for the Main Street Program, as Goffstown TD Bank Branch Manager Cheryl Elliott presented Executive Director Robbie Grady with a check for $5,550. The Main Street Program was a recipient through the bank's Affinity Program, which makes donations to nonprofit organizations based on average customer balances.

Grady thanked the hundreds of people that gathered in the Main Street area for their support of the event.

'What you've done is help keep the doors of the Main Street Program open,' Grady said.

Grady was pleased by the number of people who turned out, despite a rainy morning.

'We can't control the weather, but we still got a good crowd,' she said.

A dry run earlier in the morning ensured that all boats would float and that the captains would be safe, said Kevin Grady.

'All of the boats got into the water, and those that were tipped were weighted with sand,' Grady said.

The Regatta began in 2000, with four boats, representing the Board of Selectmen, fire and police departments and the Main Street Program.

'We thought, 'man, we have to be nuts to be doing this,' but we did it - and we continue to do it every year,' said Grady.

Grady estimated that more than 1,000 man hours were spent preparing for the two-day event.

Boat captains were creative, with boat themes that included Shrek, by the Goffstown News, All-American, captained by Police Chief Patrick Sullivan, an all pink boat sponsored by Ace Hardware, as well as Halloween-themed boats by the fire department and the YMCA.

After an official winner was declared, the boats got to have some fun with the Giant Pumpkin Eater, a decorated pontoon boat that chased the giant pumpkin boats and shot water at the captains.

Other events throughout the day included a pumpkin catapult, pumpkin wagon races, a pie eating contest and a mini pumpkin race, whose winner took home $1,300.

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