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Great Carbondale Pumpkin Race rolled into Carbondale

Submitted by Carbondale Times on

Dylan Hoyoma
Carbondale Times 

Pumpkins raced, crashed, and were smashed under Mill Street bridge on Saturday at the 5th Annual Great Pumpkin Race.

The event is a fun way for members of the community to come together and celebrate the holidays in a truly unique way. 

Before the race, all the pumpkins were placed along a walk so that local trick-or-treaters could see the creativity in Carbondale. All the pumpkins were painted and crafted.

Between the races, costume contests were held. The winners of the contest were determined by the crowd — whoever received the loudest applause won.

To enter a pumpkin in the race all somebody had to do was show up and register. To be able to compete in the race, pumpkins did have to follow a few simple rules.

The first, and most obvious, is that the pumpkin had to in fact be a pumpkin. Past years there had been watermelons try and enter, but ended up facing the consequences of cheating. 

Along with being a pumpkin, it had to have two independent axels going through with wheels on each of them. There could not be any pre-made chassis, either, such as office chairs, skateboards, or Tonka-Trucks. 

Racers were not allowed to push their pumpkin, or chase after it to make sure it went straight. Explosives and pyrotechnics were also banned from the race.

If a pumpkin was caught breaking any of these rules, it was smashed by the Mallet-O-Justice, a 25-pound wooden mallet controlled by the SIUC graduate and 2016 Olympian, DeAnna Price.

To spice things up, many times community members would purposely enter a pumpkin that breaks the rules just to see it get smashed. 

Shane Carserd and his son Mitchell decorated their pumpkin to look like Slimer from Ghostbusters. They purposely broke the rules so they could get it destroyed. To make the smashing more interesting, they filled it up with green Jell-O.

“He was Slimer and he had to pull a slime,” Shane said.

Michell was able to help Price destroy the pumpkin for cheating.

The race is hosted each year by the Carbondale Rotary Club Breakfast. All donations gathered from sponsorships were donated to local charities such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Women’s Center.

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