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Naperville
Sunday, July 21, 2024

Annual Pumpkin Race is set for Sat., Oct. 28, near Moser Tower along the Riverwalk

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Above / A refereed event, the Naperville Pumpkin Race dates back to 2016 when Randy Wolf, Chairman and CoFounder of Turning Pointe Autism Foundation, announced the winners. (PN File Photo)

The annual Naperville Pumpkin Race hosted by Turning Pointe Autism Foundation is set for Saturday afternoon, Oct. 28, 2023, again near Moser Tower along Rotary Hill. All ages are welcomed to be on track with a creatively-designed pumpkin racer. Or just be there with family, friends and neighbors for the fun of it from one heat to the next.
 
Admission to watch is free of charge. 
 
All ages are welcome to create a pumpkin racer for the Annual Naperville Pumpkin Race. (PN File Photo)
“I’m so excited to tell you this year was a record-breaking year of selling pumpkin-racer kits,” said race organizer Barb Brauer, Development and Operations Director for Turning Pointe Autism Foundation. “We sold over 600 kits ($25 each) that helped employ adults with autism and we shipped them to people in Illinois and 18 other states.”  
 
The Pumpkin Race also features contests for the best decorated pumpkin racer and the best Halloween costume.
 
“It’s always fun with our decorated pumpkin and costume contest awards,” said Brauer.
 
Pumpkin Races and other festivities again will be set near Moser Tower. (PN File Photo)

Entertainment and a food truck go with Naperville Pumpkin Race

“A face painter, and our wonderful Globy the Bubble Man will return by popular demand,” added Brauer. “An Instagram moment is always fun for the family or friends with our big pumpkin faces.”
 
Pinot’s Palette is set to again have a tent for all ages to enjoy their artistic side and take home a painting.
 
A Pit Road Crew will be on hand to help individuals put a pumpkin racer together, complete with axles and wheels. The cost for a kit is $25.
 
The food truck this year is Culinary Gangster, serving lunch items and snacks. Find the menu at culinarygangsterchicago.com/food-truck-menu.
 
Bales of hay will be set along the racetrack for spectators to watch the action.
 
Plenty of seasonal photo opportunities are set at Rotary Hill to welcome folks with cameras. (PN File Photo)
“We hope all will come out and grab a seat on a bale of hay and join the fun,” Brauer said.

2023 SCHEDULE OF RACE EVENTS & AWARDS SHOWCASE

12PM-Noon – Event Begins and Registration Opens
12:30PM – Turning Pointe Student Racing Commences (Races during this time frame are for Turning Pointe students only.) 
1-2:30PM – Public Qualifying Races
2:30-2:45PMBreak in races. Costume Contest on Main Stage and Pumpkin Decor Contest at Award Showcase
2:45-3:15PM – Spotlight Business Races
3:15-3:30PM – Quarterfinals
3:30-4PM – Semi-Finals to the Championship Race
 
Good gourd! Creativity gives everyone pumpkin to talk about on race day. (PN File Photo)

Pumpkin Pit Row closes at 3 PM / Races go until all have competed

Kindly note that race event times are subject to change. Listen to announcers to keep track of race times. Don’t miss your race event on Saturday.

Free parking will be available across the street at Naperville Central High School.

Will the Pumpkin Race be another smash hit?

Kids of all ages love this special event and the antics of the referees with a huge mallet as they determine qualifiers for the Pumpkin Race. Gourds, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon and cantaloupe are forbidden! Avoid the smash hits! Only pumpkins are allowed in the race.

Howard Weiss, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation Board President, has been known also to serve as a referee for the Pumpkin Race. (PN File Photo)
Ready, set, go! Will the pumpkin racers make it to the end of the track? (PN File Photo)

Pumpkin racing 101 – what, why and how

What is a Pumpkin Race? It was an idea developed by a former Pixar employee in California! He tied a pumpkin to his skateboard at his birthday party and loved how it raced down his driveway. At that moment, Carl realized he could design an event that anyone of any age or ability could enjoy. Racing pumpkins on wheels is as silly and fun as it sounds.

Why do we Race Pumpkins? But why we race pumpkins is also serious business! Not just at the race, but prior. At our race, you would be eliminated if you tied a pumpkin to a skateboard. Participants in the fun must use our student-packed racing kits to level the playing field. Creating these race kits gives Turning Pointe students vocational skills and paid work experience. Every kit helps students learn and participate as working teammates at Turning Pointe Autism Foundation.

How do you Pumpkin Race? We sell race kits ($25 each) with everything you need to transform your pumpkin into a vehicle fit for race day. Each kit has two axles, four skateboard wheels, and other assembly pieces to ensure your pumpkin can move fast on race day! You bring the creativity and paint, decorate, and design your pumpkin for the race however your imagination desires. Then bring it to the competition at Rotary Hill! We will all race, laugh, and marvel at how different we each understood the assignment.

“As you consider your pumpkin-latte-spiced activities for the season, we hope you’ll join our community and bring your entire family out to see pumpkins racing on wheels!” noted Turning Pointe Executive Director Carrie Provenzale.

Find more info at turningpointeautismfoundation.org/pumpkin-race.

No time to attend this year’s race on Oct. 28, 2023?

Consider hosting a backyard race. Pumpkin Racer Kits ($25 each) are available while supply lasts.

Pumpkin Kits will be available for purchase at the Pumpkin Race event on Oct. 28.

To reserve a kit ahead of time, or for more questions, kindly reach out to Barb Brauer bbrauer@turningpointeaf.org.

Did you know?

Since 2007, Turning Pointe Autism Foundation has strived to raise the quality of educational supports for children and young adults with autism. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Turning Pointe relies on events such as its Pumpkin Race as well as the partnership of volunteers, donors, school districts and Employment Partners to build a thriving center for students learning with autism.

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