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Scott Marx

Each Fall, a Town in Oregon Races Pumpkin 'Boats' Across a Lake

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Scott Marx

Forget jack-o'-lanterns or pies—the residents of Tualatin, Oregon turn their pumpkins into boats.

Last weekend, the city held its annual West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta—a quirky annual October event in which participants dress in costumes, hollow giant gourds into makeshift vessels, and paddle them across a local lake.

The oversized squash are generously provided by the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers, a regional group of gardeners who promote the cultivation of “obscenely large, healthy vegetables.” (This year, one of their offerings tipped the scale at 1,794.5 pounds.)

After the pumpkins are measured in a “Terminator Weigh Off,” they’re cut open, scooped out, and transformed into tiny watercrafts. Contestants climb into them, take to the water, and engage in a series of races—that is, if their boats don't start leaking, which happened to at least one contestant last weekend, Oregon Live reports.

Twenty-one individuals attempted the 2015 Regatta—a physical feat that, despite its whimsical nature, one frustrated rower described to Oregon Live as “brutal” and “exhausting.” Apparently pumpkins don’t make the most seaworthy boats. However, that doesn't stop people from trying. Now in its 12th incarnation, the Regatta drew thousands of onlookers, who enjoyed pie-eating contests, costume competitions, and live entertainment while they weren’t watching others flail around in the water. 

Check out some pictures taken from this year's festivities below.



All photos courtesy of Scott Marx.

[h/t OregonLive]

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Animals
Miami to Host Inaugural Canine Film Festival
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There’s an annual festival dedicated to internet cat videos, so it only makes sense that dog-lovers would create their own film event. As the Miami New-Times reports, the Magic City will host the inaugural Canine Film Festival on July 15 and 16. The fundraising event encourages movie lovers to enjoy submitted flicks with their furry friends.

The festival will take place at the Cinépolis Coconut Grove and Hotel Indigo in Miami Lakes. Festivities kick off on the first day with “A Day at the Movies With Your Dog,” featuring film screenings attended by dogs and humans alike. Other events scheduled throughout the weekend include a dog fashion show, dog yoga, silent auctions, a canine costume contest, an after-party at Miami Lakes' Hotel Indigo, and an awards ceremony.

Admission costs $10 to $1000, and 50 percent of ticket proceeds will benefit local animal rescues and shelters. For more information, visit the Canine Film Festival's website.

[h/t Miami New Times]

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Nicolas Raymond // CC BY 2.0
D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms Will Arrive Extra Early This Year
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Nicolas Raymond // CC BY 2.0

Spring is busting out in Washington, D.C. The city’s beloved cherry trees have already begun to bloom, forcing organizers of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival to start the event one week earlier than planned, ABC News reports.

The National Park Service is currently estimating that peak bloom—that is, the short period when 70 percent of the Yoshino cherry blossoms will be open—will begin around March 14. Last year, peak bloom began on March 25. In the years before that, the blossoms peaked in early April. The Cherry Blossom Festival will begin March 15, rather than March 20, and continue through April 16.

“Cherry tree dates vary from year to year, but the long-term trend shows earlier and earlier blooming,” climate change scientist Patrick Gonzalez said in a video for the National Park Service. Blooms can be forced by unseasonably warm winters, although as the last three years have been the hottest ever recorded, we may soon need to adjust our definition of “unseasonably warm.”

The National Park Service notes that the exact dates of prime pink-petal viewing are “almost impossible” to predict more than 10 days in advance.

The hundreds of cherry trees planted throughout the nation's capital and the Tidal Basin were a gift from Japan to the United States in 1912 and have since become one of D.C.’s most famous tourist attractions. Yet as big as the blossoms are here, they’re even bigger in Japan, where their fragility, loveliness, and oh-so-brief appearance represent the beauty and impermanence of life.

[h/t: ABC News]

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