Burlington’s Great Pumpkin Regatta (In which my husband paddles a giant pumpkin in Lake Champlain)

"So what do you have going on this weekend?" my parents asked during a recent phone call.

"Oh, not too much," I answered. "We’re just busy Sunday. Tom has to paddle a pumpkin across Burlington Harbor."

"Paddle it across, like in a rowboat?  Or what?"

"No…he’s getting in a giant, hollowed-out pumpkin and then paddling it around as if it’s a kayak."

There was laughter on the other end of the phone line.

But it’s true.  And I now have photographic evidence from the Great Pumpkin Regatta hosted by the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

For those who may not know, Tom’s the local TV meteorologist, so he was part of the celebrities race.  It went very well…until he got close to the finish line and encountered a reporter from a competing TV station splashing & blocking his way.

Then things got ugly.

And look…he was still smiling even after being dumped in the lake!  (Note the special-occasion, Doppler radar swim trunks. That is high fashion for meteorologists…)

The crew had to bail out the capsized pumpkins for the next round of racers.

It really was a perfect fall day for the event.  And you have to admit…

…Burlington knows how to celebrate Halloween in style.

Burlington Book Festival

I know it’s early, but I want to let everyone know about the Burlington Book Festival coming up next month.  Burlington, VT hosts an incredible book festival each fall, just as the leaves are changing color in New England.  If you live in the Northeast (or even if you don’t but you really, really like autumn leaves and books), it’s worth the trip.  Most of the events are being held at Waterfront Theater on the shores of Lake Champlain.

I’ll be presenting  on Sunday, September 16th at the Children’s Literature Festival.  Here’s my blurb from the festival website:

11:00 AM-12:00 PM


Join Kate Messner for a trip back in time to the American Revolution on Lake Champlain. Kate will read from her middle grade historical novel Spitfire, set during the Battle of Valcour Island in 1776, sign books and present an interactive multimedia slide show about the real 12-year-old who fought in the battle. Kids will be invited to taste the food and try on the clothes of an 18th century sailor, handle artifact replicas and design their own powder horns to take home.

Waterfront Theatre Black Box, 3rd Floor

Right after my presentation, Linda Urban (

) will read from A CROOKED KIND OF PERFECT and talk about the journey of writing and publishing a children’s book.  (Even though Linda says it will make her nervous, my kids and I are definitely going to be in the audience!)

Also on tap for the Sunday kids’ day… Tracey Campbell Pearson, James Kochalka, Anna Dewdney, Harry Bliss, Jim Arnosky, Barbara Seuling, Marie-Louise Gay, Barbara Lehman, and Warren Kimble.

And the rest of the Book Festival is nothing to scoff at either, with writers like Chris Bohjalian, Howard Frank Mosher, Russell Banks, and Joyce Carol Oates speaking on Saturday, September 15th.  The full schedule is posted at the festival website now. If you’re in the area that weekend, please stop by the Children’s Literature Festival and say hello!