WINDSOR, N.S. — There’s no question that people came out in droves during the 2017 Windsor-West Hants Pumpkin Regatta, and local businesses reaped the benefits.
This year, the regatta was held on the weekend following the Thanksgiving holiday. That change was sited as a factor for many people coming out this year, some for the first time.
Amanda Wamboldt, general manager of the Super 8 Hotel in Windsor, said she was glad to see the regatta moved to a new date.
“In years past the Valley Harvest Marathon and regatta fell on the same weekend, making accommodations difficult to find,” Wamboldt said. “Most of our guests were in for the marathon, so those looking to come for the regatta had nowhere to stay and perhaps ended up not attending.”
Wamboldt said the Super 8 Hotel benefitted from being able to offer accommodations for both events.
Jocelyn Wright, owner of Sequels Boutique in Windsor, said she would also prefer the regatta to be on the same weekend next year — although she added that not all businesses saw a huge benefit from the event.
“It can be a bit hectic to attend on Thanksgiving Sunday as most people are having their dinner that day but there will be a good crowd no matter when it's held,” Wright said. “As far as opening on that day, I have spoken to other retailers who have opened and realized that people are there to watch the regatta and possibly eat or drink, not to shop.”
Wright said the Avon River Days parade is similar, with people mainly in town to watch the parade and then leave.
Cameron Hartley, owner of Schoolhouse Brewery in Windsor, decided to go all out for the regatta, expanding their beer garden and bringing in live music.
He said the event was overall positive, but added it was dominated by a mad rush in the afternoon followed by an exodus of customers once the regatta ended.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Windsor so packed with people,” Hartley said. “It’s an event that, for five hours, it’s full and then the town empties out again. By five o’clock, it’s just like any other Sunday.”
Hartley said he’d like to see the event extended in some way in the future.
“I would love to see some additions to the pumpkin regatta, because we’ve got the crowd here, there’s so much opportunity to make the day a little bit longer,” he said. “Like maybe a pumpkin trebuchet hurling pumpkins into the lake; there’s lots of fun stuff we could do.”