A Man, a Giant Pumpkin, a River – and a World Record

(Header image: Todd Sandstrum en route to the world record)

Willwork Global Event Services, founded in 1987, is a leading exhibition services and event project management company.

In our social media posts, we like to talk about and point to events, exhibitions, conventions, parties, soirees, shows, and festivals … of all types.

Indeed, here in this space, among the topics we have featured and discussed are the summer solstice, celebrations held for championship professional sports teams, “Blood Moon,”  World’s Columbian Exposition (more commonly called the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair), Halloween and scary-themed expositions and events, world’s top flower shows, and giant and spectacular Christmas trees.

This being the first week of October and early fall, we thought it particularly appropriate to herald an event which is built around and promotes a fruit – a cultivated and domesticated fruit that is member of the winter squash family.

Yes, we are talking about the pumpkin – a native of North America, originating about 7,000 BC, in an area that encompasses present day northeastern Mexico and southern United States.

Getting back to squashes – the pumpkin is also a gourd, which is an ornamental squash, even if pumpkins are also a favorite food source, whereas most ornamental squashes are edible, but intensely bitter.

Willwork Global Event Services has a direct tie to a big-time event involving a pumpkin. 

Actually, we refer to a world record involving a pumpkin – a really big pumpkin – that was established by a native of Easton, MA, the town where is located the Willwork Global Event Services corporate office.

The Easton native is Todd Sandstrum, a gentleman who was also living in Easton when, on September 3, 2016, he set the global mark.

Mr. Sandstrum – a third-generation farmer, agricultural steward and education advocate, and environmentalist – made it into the Guinness World Records when he skippered and paddled a 1,240-lb. pumpkin, carved and fashioned into a boat, eight miles on the Taunton River, a waterway in southeastern Massachusetts.

The Taunton River is 36 miles long, from its origin in the town of Bridgewater, MA to where it meets the Atlantic Ocean in Mount Hope Bay at the border of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Starting in the city of Taunton, the Taunton River is tidal for the final 12 miles of its journey to the ocean.

Success came for Mr. Sandstrum a year after his first pumpkin-paddling world record attempt – also on the Taunton River.  In that effort, he made it about 3.5 miles before shallow water halted his progress.

Yet, that 3.5-mile trek was recognized as a world record by the World Record Academy.  Guinness, though, did not certify the mark because of insufficient documentation.

Todd Sandstrum’s second try for a world best would be thoroughly chronicled, with local media covering the event. 

Mr. Sandstrum set his pumpkin boat in the water in Dighton, MA.

His final destination was Battleship Cove, a maritime museum and war memorial set in Fall River. MA at the intersection of the Taunton River and the Atlantic. 

Approximately four hours and 13 minutes after he set off from Dighton, hundreds were cheering from the shoreline, and news cameras clicked and rolled, as Todd Sandstrum pulled his pumpkin vessel up next to the USS Massachusetts (which is permanently anchored at Battleship Cove) and affixed a kiss to the famed and iconic battleship.

Mission Complete – Todd Sandstrum kisses the USS Massachusetts (image credit: Marc Vasconcellos for the The Enterprise)

One for the record books.

To learn more about Todd Sandstrum’s world record, please click here to be taken to an Enterprise newspaper story, smartly titled, “Good gourd! Easton man paddles pumpkin boat, squashes record,” written by Cody Shepard, with photos by Marc Vasconcellos.

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