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Stillwater Harvest Fest’s Pumpkin Weigh-Off Moves Online

Stillwater Harvest Fest’s Pumpkin Weigh-Off Moves Online 2020-10-03Leave a comment

electrical bike Stillwater Harvest Fest’s Pumpkin Weigh-Off Strikes On-line

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

Editor’s observe: The primary a part of this story recounts final yr’s Stillwater Harvest Fest—which was, in typical vogue, an occasion of large proportions. Organizers not too long ago introduced that the festival’s annual pumpkin weigh-off will occur virtually this year. Watch the large occasion streamed life on the Harvest Fest Facebook page. In any other case, the occasion is, sadly, canceled. Learn on to find out about different issues to do in Stillwater this fall.

A 1,000-pound pumpkin dangles from a crane as spectators look on with anticipation, positioned behind ropes to stop damage. The crane’s operator is entrusted with a exact process: drop the large pumpkin from a peak of 140 toes to hit two equally sized pumpkins stacked on the bottom.

The gang begins counting backwards from 10. The pumpkin is launched proper on cue, tumbling by means of the air to a soundtrack of gasps and cheers, after which splat: an orange explosion of three,000 kilos of rind, seeds, and pulp. It appears unbelievable {that a} squish may resound with such quantity, and it’s echoed by the delighted squeals of kids speeding in to seize handfuls of pumpkin guts.

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

The pumpkin drop is likely one of the highlights of the Stillwater Harvest Fest, an annual celebration of the season, the city, and the fascinating weirdness of huge squash. The pageant kicks off with the St. Croix Growers Affiliation big pumpkin weigh-off, which options entries from throughout the Midwest (virtually this year). Growers compete for bragging rights and $25,000 in prize cash, and in previous years the weigh-off has set Minnesota, Wisconsin, North American, and world information. A number of the behemoth pumpkins tip the scales at over 2,000 kilos—in regards to the weight of a small automobile.

As soon as the winner is topped, the large pumpkins are displayed all through the pageant grounds for attendees to the touch and pose with for selfies. Some pumpkins are sensible orange, others a extra sedate pastel shade. All of them have a cartoonish high quality, their cumbersome girth making them appear to be one thing from a fairy story.

The Pumpkin Regatta
The Pumpkin Regatta on the Stillwater Harvest Fest, which works digital this yr

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

That fantastical high quality is on full show on the Pumpkin Regatta, an occasion wherein rivals swimsuit up in wetsuits, climb into hollowed-out pumpkins, and try and paddle the ungainly vessels down the St. Croix River.

“That is totally ridiculous, and that’s the purpose,” says the announcer over the P.A. system. She explains that at the very least one of many rivals normally leads to the river, however a pontoon boat and scuba diver are readily available to make sure the members’ security. Then the checkered flag drops and the race is on.

Not precisely constructed for pace, these 900-pound pumpkins gently bob down the river at their very own tempo, seemingly with out regard for the livid paddling efforts of their occupants. One pumpkin veers off target; one other appears precariously near tipping. To the cheers of the assembled onlookers, the winner glides throughout the end line in below a minute—or, nicely, as shut as an enormous, misshapen squash can come to gliding.

The Lora Hotel
The Lora Resort

Picture by Darin Kamnetz

Past Harvest Fest, Stillwater has loads of different actions to supply autumn guests. For an tour targeted on the good outdoor, the close by Brown’s Creek/Gateway Path offers seasoned cyclists and novices alike the chance to understand colourful foliage. Don’t wish to carry a motorbike? Stillwater has a number of rental choices, together with DIRO Outdoors’ self-serve kiosk downtown (use a smartphone app to hire and pay for a unisex seven-speed bike) and Mike’s Electric Bikes, which provides an additional increase on steep hills.

Bikers can even benefit from the Stillwater Carry Bridge’s new position: It reopened earlier this yr as a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge. Initially constructed in 1931 to attach Minnesota’s Freeway 36 with Wisconsin’s Freeway 64, the revamped bridge is now could be a part of a loop path system that features lookout factors with views of the St. Croix River and valley.

Thirsty bikers in want of some refreshment ought to cease by Maple Island Brewery in downtown Stillwater. On heat autumn days, avail your self of the dog-friendly patio, and on cooler ones, transfer indoors to the spacious taproom (at the moment working at 50% capability). The brewery’s eponymous Maple Island Bock is made with domestically sourced maple syrup for a refined taste of fall in every sip. Different autumn-friendly brews embody a German-style Oktoberfest and the non-alcoholic maple-flavored root beer.

Downtown Stillwater can also be a vibrant procuring vacation spot, with over 50 domestically owned retailers starting from upscale boutiques to nostalgic sweet retailers (lots of which serve up pumpkin spice ice cream through the fall season). Considered one of downtown’s newer retail additions is Minnesota Made, an attire firm providing high-quality T-shirts and sweatshirts manufactured within the U.S. from sustainable and recycled fibers. The shirts are screen-printed domestically, with refined Minnesota-themed designs and a hidden quote meant to empower and encourage the wearer.

One other downtown standout is Lora Hotel, which provides an opulent heat particularly well-suited for an autumn keep. Initially constructed as a brewery within the late 1800s, the boutique resort is constructed into the facet of a cliff and retains most of the constructing’s unique options, like stone partitions and vaulted ceilings. Every of the 40 rooms has a novel structure, and if there’s a chill within the air, spring for a room with a hearth.

Lora Resort makes a speciality of making visitors really feel pampered, with plush robes, mini bars stocked with native goodies, and exercise kits accessible upon request. Additionally they roll out the welcome mat for pets: Furry visitors are greeted with a mattress, bowls, toys, and a deal with upon arrival, and the room-service menu contains pet-friendly objects like house-made canine biscuits.

After a comfy evening of sleep, guests can linger over brunch at Feller, the resort’s smooth restaurant. The menu highlights wild recreation and foraged substances, similar to wild boar breakfast sausage, wild rice porridge served with maple syrup, and a salad topped with salmon, native blue cheese, and pickled rhubarb. Order the mimosarita (a tasty mimosa/margarita hybrid) and toast to a very distinctive autumn getaway—big pumpkins and all.

Eat, Play, Keep in Stillwater


QuickFire Pizza provides basic wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas in addition to creative specialty pies, with gluten-free crust accessible. Maple Island Brewery boasts distinctive craft beers, house-made sodas, and free popcorn. A full-service bike store, Chilkoot Café & Cyclery additionally serves up house-roasted espresso, scratch baked items, and meals made with contemporary native and natural substances.


At Stillwater Escape Co., beat the clock to resolve a thriller impressed by the constructing’s unique position as a shoe manufacturing unit. Clues embody genuine historic paperwork.


Suites on the homey mattress and breakfast Cover Park Manor characteristic whirlpool tubs for 2, fireplaces, and personal porches. Get pleasure from a scorching breakfast in mattress—a multi-course meal is delivered every morning. The Lora Hotel is a trendy boutique resort providing fashionable facilities in a historic setting.

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