It’s not every day that you dress up like a pirate and float around in a giant pumpkin – but that’s exactly what Scott Loewen did last weekend.
After spending several months growing a giant pumpkin in the front yard of his New West home, Loewen – with a little help from friends – transported his 500-pound pumpkin “Jabba” to Buntzen Lake in Anmore and took the pumpkin for a little spin in the water.
“It was totally cool,” he said. “I didn't do it for too long but it was pretty neat. It is a bucket list thing; I've got a lot a lot of stuff that I want to do. Growing a big pumpkin was always on the list, and I did that. And now, I wanted to turn it into a boat.”
Last fall, Loewen planted Dill’s Atlantic Giant Pumpkin seeds and grew 560-pound and 130-pound pumpkins, which he then had an artist carve into creatures he called Goliath and David. The giant gourds drew crowds to his Durham Street home, with folks of all ages taking photos of Goliath.
This year, several friends helped Loewen load this year’s pumpkin onto a truck to transport it to Buntzen Lake, where Loewen and about 15 family and friends had a bit of fun on Saturday, Nov. 5.
“They've got a boat launch, so we backed right up into the water and basically dumped it in the water,” he said. “I wanted to see how it would float, what side was best to carve the hole, and then I just went ahead and did that and carved it right there at the lake. I dressed as a pirate and just made it kind of a fun little event.”
This year’s pumpkin was ideal for completing Loewen’s quest of creating a pumpkin “boat” that he could float it; it was light enough that a group of friends could help him lift it into a truck and it wasn’t so heavy that he wanted to take it to the annual giant pumpkin weigh-off event in Langley.
“I have a bunch of stuff I want to do with giant pumpkins, and I'm just kind of knocking them off my list,” he said. “Making a boat was one of them.”
After determining the best spot to carve the pumpkin, Loewen used an electric saw and giant spoon to carve a hole and clear out a space that he could fit into – and wouldn’t fill up with water when it was launched into the lake.
“We did wipe out a couple times,” he noted. “I went right under and I had to bail it out with a pail and start again.”
And, how was the water on a crisp November afternoon?
“It was pretty cold,” he laughed.
Even though the air and water were cold, Loewen carved a special beverage holder into his pumpkin to hold a beer from Steel & Oak Brewing Co. in New West. A Gene Simmons figurine – sporting a Joe Sakic hockey jersey – was also on board for Jabba’s maiden (and final) voyage.
“Sometimes when I go on hikes and things that are fun, I'll bring him and just take a couple of cool photos of a mountain top view. I don't want to be in them, so I'll take a picture of him just doing fun stuff,” Loewen explained. “Because I do like silly; obviously – I dressed as a pirate and floated around in a pumpkin.”
Loewen said he didn’t spend a lot of time floating around in his pumpkin because he didn’t want to overdo it for friends and family who had come out to cheer him on a chilly Saturday afternoon. He spent a few minutes soaking up his surroundings, before paddling back to shore with his orange paddle.
“There was a moment when I stopped in the water, and I didn't paddle. I just sat there and looked out at the lake and the mountains, and I thought ‘Yep, I'm floating in a giant pumpkin.’ How many people get to do that, right? It's such a nice thing,” he said. “That was kind of that moment where I was like, check.”
Loewen is always trying to check off items on his bucket list, which includes some serious items, like travelling with his wife of 30 years, as well as some lighthearted things like growing giant pumpkins. That’s something he’s been doing for the past few years – and plans to continue doing.
“Yeah, that's the plan,” he said. “I'll keep doing it as long as I find it fun and have the garden space for it.”
The plan for next year’s giant pumpkin has yet to be determined – as it will partially depend on how big it grows.
Loewen was only too happy to share his passion for pumpkins with folks who were out paddleboarding and walking dogs at Buntzen Lake last weekend.
“I started handing out giant pumpkin seeds to people. I said, ‘Here, help yourself, take them home, dry them out and get involved in growing them.’ A lot of people took seeds,” he said. “It was fun. It was it was a good crowd.”
Floating in a giant pumpkin dressed as a pirate is just one of the ways Loewen (who once did a bee beard that included having 4,000 bees on his face) likes to enjoy life.
“I do want to inspire people to try new stuff, I guess, and to get reative and maybe go out of their comfort zone and give something a try. It can be anything,” he said. “It's fun to go out past the boundaries and try something new.”