September 22, 2017

Manhattan Beach annual Pumpkin Race held by Manhattan Beach Pier

By Hannah Parker

Online News Editor

The Manhattan Beach World Famous 25th annual Pumpkin Race was celebrated on Oct. 25 by the Manhattan Beach Pier where participants had the chance to build their pumpkins and race them against others.

Participants were given the option to either build their pumpkin race cars at home or purchase a pumpkin race car kit for $20 at the event. Decorations, assistance from volunteers and accessories are available at the four tables where the car building portion of the event is held.  

“There are so many fun things that occur at the race such as the last race and the pumpkin smashing at the end,” Manhattan Beach Parks and Recreation Department’s Recreation Supervisor Matthew Morrow said. “However, the best part is seeing the kids smiles while decorating their pumpkins or racing.”

Along with the MBPRD’s 25 member staff, volunteers were able to register under the National Charity League to work the event. Volunteers received community service hours by helping at the pumpkin race car building area.

“Being a volunteer is a great opportunity for students to get community service hours while still being a part of the community and enjoying the pumpkin races,” sophomore Hannah Zaslanksy said. “We assisted the kids in building their race cars and picked up trash.”

It all began when founder Karl Rogers pushed a pumpkin down Longfellow Avenue on a skateboard on the Halloween of 1990. Since then, the pumpkin races have gone on to attract as many as 8,000 people in 2007.

“The amount of people that show up to this event proves that it is central to Manhattan Beach’s culture,” staff member Jimmy Cordova said. “Although this is my first year working this event, I can already tell that the community members appreciate and look forward to the race every year.”

According to Morrow, the race attracted up to 1,000 people this year and will continue to impress. The Pumpkin Races have already been awarded the California Park and Recreation Society Award of Distinction and the National Recreation and Park Association Special Event of the Year.

“Thousands of people come to this event every year because of it’s entertainment value,” MBPRD’s Recreation Leader Isabelle Francis said. “I love seeing the expressions on people’s faces and how crazy and competitive some participants become throughout the races.”

According to Francis, the pumpkin race has picked up considerable attention from multiple sources in the last 25 years. The races have been covered on local television networks, has been featured on the television show Home Improvement, and in 2004, was produced into a Time Warner Cable documentary.

“It is such an honor to run the 25th annual Pumpkin Race,” Morrow said. “When the founding fathers first held this event they had no clue it would become such a central part of the Manhattan Beach community and I am happy to say that it is a success.”

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