Pumpkin Plunkin’ sends gourds over the falls!

The pumpkins that survive the plunge (we think it was pretty much all of them) bob along in relief below the falls.

Ever since 2015 a group of Addison County parents have organized a fun Halloween activity for children that included the typical costumes and running around, but is quite different from traditional trick-or-treating. They call it Pumpkin Plunkin’!

What happens is that families decorate pumpkins, don their costumes and gather under the Cross Street Bridge in down Middlebury on the afternoon of Halloween. After a short build up to heighten the excitement, everyone chucks their pumpkins into Otter Creek so they can float with the current down the river and over the falls.

The families then rush up Bakery Lane, across Main Street (after looking both ways, of course), down Mill Street and onto the food bridge to see whose pumpkin is first under the footbridge — the finish line.

The event was staged as usual on Sunday — Halloween. It missed a year because of the COVID pandemic, but organizers were excited to revive the outdoor tradition this year for the 6th Annual Pumpkin Plunkin’. And the kids seemed pretty excited too. The Addison Independent’s John S. McCright captured these images of the fun:

The orange and yellow gourds are thrown into Otter Creek at the start of Sunday’s Pumpkin Plunkin’.

Families then ran up Bakery Lane to beat the pumpkins to the finish line.

The pumpkins float toward the Main Street bridge.

…and under the bridge …

The pumpkins get closer and closer to the rushing falls…

…and perilously closer….

…and OVER the Otter Creek Falls!

The pumpkins that survive the plunge (we think it was pretty much all of them) bob along in relief below the falls.

This year, because of the high water, many of the more than 20 entrants ended up getting caught in the eddy on the north side of the creek below the falls. There they floated around and around for hours.

The families gathered on the foot bridge to cheer on their pumpkins.

You could almost feel the anticipation it was so sharp.

Three-year-old Ingrid Grawdusky and her father Shane scanned the creek for the winning pumpkin.

Susan Parsons and her one-year-old Marle braved the rain to watch the pumpkins. In the background a canoe is ready to pick up all the pumpkins that made it passed the Old Mill building.

There’s one!

A parent in his own Halloween costume announces the winners to the children who gathered on Mill Street for the awards ceremony.

One child enjoyed a cookie while waiting to see the winner up close.

Seven-year-old Pippa shows off the four pumpkins that made it over the falls, past the eddy and under the footbridge. That capped another exciting year of the Pumpkin Plunkin’!
Independent photos/John S. McCright

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