Monday, October 8, 2012

More Pumpkins Than Ever: NOCtoberfest 2012

NOCtoberfest is here! NOC celebrates fall with a beer garden at Slow Joe's Cafe every weekend in October starting at 4pm. Come enjoy the outdoors during the day and sample beers from Weihenstephaner, Bitburger and Maisel's Wesse by the river when you're finished.

The Main Event
Join us on Saturday, October 27th when we celebrate the close of the 2012 Nantahala River rafting season with a full load of fun activities*. The day's top events include the spectacular Great Pumpkin Pursuit, a fantastic five-mile trial run, free live music and a hilarious costume party and pumpkin decorating contest..

Crazy pumpkin from NOCtoberfest 2011
Why all the buzz about the Great Pumpkin Pursuit?
One of the most entertaining and fun events all year, the Great Pumpkin Pursuit--an all-out dash to collect numbered pumpkins tossed into Nantahala Falls--draws a crowd of hundreds of spectators as well as 50 to 60 paddlers. The paddlers don crazy costumes and deploy innovative pumpkin collection schemes while negotiating a massive traffic jam in the Nantahala's largest rapid.
A scene from the 2011 Great Pumkpin Pursuit
This year, we are dropping, tossing and spilling 400 mini-pumpkins into the Falls, double the haul from last year!  Paddlers are invited to collect the pumpkins any way they please, and spectators are welcome to attempt land-based collecting too. Pretty much anything goes--as long as everyone maintains a courteous attitude toward the other participants and a focus on safety.

Some techniques used to collect from last year. (Note the basket fixed to the front of this kayak.)
After the event we host an award ceremony for various honors, and we draw numbers that correspond with the numbered pumpkins. The more pumpkins participants collect the better their chances of winning a prize in the raffle! This year, some of the prizes include a $500 gift card to NOC, PFDs, helmets, and much more.
NOC Marketing team members Lauren Dietrich and Hope Brainard, getting in the Halloween spirit
Note that the events on the water can get crazy and may not be everyone's idea of a good time. Never fear: boaters are welcome to stalk an eddy downstream of the Falls that's a bit out of the way. Sometimes following the traffic jam at a cautious distance is a good idea too. One of the reasons we toss so many pumpkins is to give everyone a reasonable chance to get something without risking life and limb. Also, note that land-based collecting is allowed, but that walking haphazardly on wet river rocks has risks too.

After the event we'll have a pumpkin decorating contest, live reggae from the Natti Love Joys and the 2012 costume contest.

We hope to see you, your friends and families out at NOC for the upcoming festivities! For a full event schedule, click here.

To finish, check out this "trailer" one of the participants made back at the first GPP in 2010. While the crowd was small for the first event, this video does capture the mood pretty well:

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