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‘Treasure Chest’ pumpkin racer is smash hit at 2022 Pumpkin Race held Oct. 29


Above / On a picture-perfect autumn afternoon, dozens of pumpkin racers were on display near Moser Tower while waiting for their heat to be called to run in the 6th Annual Pumpkin Race. Every year, custom-designed pumpkins have become more creative, organizers said. To the surprise of many young spectators, the “Treasure Chest” pumpkin racer (Notice under the Award Showcase sign, between the eyeball and the 8-ball.) ended up being filled with golden coins “just for the fun of it.”

At noon Sat., Oct. 29, families began arriving to watch the 6th Annual Naperville Pumpkin Race.

The 6th Annual Naperville Pumpkin Race, hosted by Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, returned at noon Sat., Oct. 29, along the Riverwalk near Moser Tower.

This event is great fun for participants and spectators. The always-entertaining elimination races, complete with lively banter by Official Referee Howard Weiss, take several hours. A costume contest, vendors with giveaways, pumpkin decorating contest, big bubbles, live entertainment and other creative surprises add to the enjoyment of this Halloween-theme event that includes several smash hits.

During the recent Pumpkin Race, Treasures, a downtown Naperville toy shop, hosted a promotional table display and entered a pumpkin racer to run in the special heat designed for business entries.  

What’s more, the pumpkin racer was carved and painted to resemble a treasure chest by Treasures’ owner Mike Kristula. Designed to open and close, the entry was filled with golden coins.

Every year, some of the creative designs entered in the Pumpkin Race have been imposters.  With wheels in place, watermelons, gourds and squash have been painted and disguised to resemble pumpkin racers. If the official referees team up in a huddle to determine that a racer is other than a pumpkin, a huge mallet makes mush of it.

Saturday, however, for the first time in the six years of the fun and awareness raising event for Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, one authentic Pumpkin Racer was designed to spread good cheer all around when it was smashed as part of the finale.

Festivities featured ‘Pumpkin Racers’ sponsored by businesses

During the second heat featuring pumpkin racers sponsored by local businesses, the “Treasure Chest” entry created by Treasures’ owner Michael Kristula was unable to go straight down the ramp and onto the racetrack. 
Still… The Treasure Chest pumpkin racer was a big hit when Referee Howard Weiss broke it open with the large mallet and revealed silly keepsake golden coins were inside for youngsters to collect.
Emcee Danielle Tufano and Referee Howard Weiss cautioned the crowd of kids to hold back until the treasure inside the pumpkin racer had been checked for safe keeping.
Golden coins were ready to be collected by kids.
And the kids began to scramble.
Joyful kids collected coins by the handsful.

Treasures Naperville

Treasures is a toy store featuring a wide variety of games, gadgets and special novelty gifts for youngsters and adults. An independent local business, Treasures is chock full of more than a few items to keep all ages interacting. 

A visit to Treasures is sure to enrich your day!

Accessories to dress up pretend princesses and knights

For last-minute Halloween costumes to portray princesses, knights and other medieval characters, the toy shop has a selection of kid-size accessories, including capes, caps, helmets, shields and more.

Ideas for donating to U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots

One more thought for the holidays: For folks looking to purchase a brand new gift for the annual Toys for Tots Collection, now in progress, the floor-to-ceiling shelves at Treasures are well stocked with toys, games, puzzles, magic kits and crafts. In fact, Treasures will have a collection box that Mike said he’d deliver to one of the official Naperville Park District Toys for Tots sites that includes the Alfred Rubin Riverwalk Community Center and four other locations.

Julian, the friendly sales associate, was quick to juggle upon request!

Plus, whenever you visit the happy place, Mike or another friendly, well-informed juggler is sure to entertain as he assists finding just what you want among classic games and the latest arrivals.

Treasures opens daily at 11AM. The store closes at 5PM on Sundays and Mondays. The rest of the week, Treasures is open until 11AM to 7PM.

For more information about Treasures, visit www.treasuresnaperville.com.

Treasures, an enjoyable stop when visiting downtown Naperville, is open every day when you need a toy store!

Walk this way to Treasures, located at 121 S. Washington Street in downtown Naperville. Doors are open every day of the year except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

A few words about Turning Pointe Autism Foundation

Since 2007, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation has aimed to create opportunities and programs to educate individuals with autism through proven interventions to increase independence, encourage meaningful lifelong pursuits, and enrich the community at large.

For more information about Turning Pointe programs and schools located in Naperville, visit turningpointeautismfoundation.org/.

Final thoughts

“We were thrilled with the beautiful weather and the fabulous turnout,” noted race organizer Barb Brauer, Development & Operations Director for Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. “Howard and Danielle make the event so much fun and do a great job pointing out the creativity of the racer pumpkins. Our business races were fun to watch and were so creative. Moose & Me Bakery had a ‘sweet’ pumpkin cupcake, and the Treasures’ pumpkin with gold coins was fun for all when the mallet of justice smashed it open to the delight of our guests, who got to take a gold coin home with them.”

Treasures and Moose & Me Bakery line up to race. Pumpkin Racers were designed in different themes to reflect creativity for the enjoyment of everybody. (Photo by Ron Hume)

Brauer continued with a reminder to save the date for 2023. “What a fun day all around. It is always fun to see and enjoy the event with our community. We look forward to seeing the creativity next year at the Naperville Pumpkin Race!”

Last updated Nov. 1, 2022

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.