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25th Annual Pumpkin Race Draws Crowds

Oct 27, 2015 11:00AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Manhattan Beach's 25th annual World Famous Pumpkin Race was held on Sunday, drawing an estimated 3,000 racers and spectators to the Manhattan Beach Pier.

Young and old alike crowded Manhattan Beach Boulevard to race and cheer on their favorite pumpkins. This year's entries included Darth Vader, R2D2, Minecraft, Angry Birds, and Donald Trump.

The winning racer, "Brainiac," was created by Kevin Clark and Dylan Arroyo. Last year's winner, Tommy Griffith, took second place. Third place went to Rowan Park and Harold Kim. Jeff Gill and Kristin Carter took fourth place with the "Donald Trumpkin." [Be sure to see our Photo Gallery here.]

Race sponsor LA Car Guy awarded a total of $1,000 to the winners' schools - $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $125 each for third and fourth places.

City officials also took part in a special race among city departments. This year, the police reigned supreme with their stylized police car pumpkin.

As per tradition, race officials sniffed out a few "cheater" pumpkins including a watermelon and a smoking, menacing, motorized pumpkin. Referees used the "Hammer of Justice" to smash the rogue watermelon to pieces.

Over the years, the World Famous Pumpkin Race has become a cherished hometown event that has garnered the attention of several local and national television news networks. It was once featured in an episode of Home Improvement, and In 2004, Time Warner Cable produced and aired a documentary about the event. It has spawned countless similar events in towns across the country.

On hand to witness the festivities for the 25th anniversary of the race were "founding race fathers" Karl Rogers, John Holliday, and Michael Aaker.

The event also drew plenty of newcomers and non-locals. Kandis Albertson and her family came all the way from Billings, Montana, to participate in the race. She said that the hardware store that her husband manages has a pumpkin patch and has considered running an event like this one.

"We decided that we wanted to come out and see what all the fun was about," said Albertson, noting that this was her family's first time in Manhattan Beach. "The whole experience - the races, Manhattan Beach - was all very neat. It is a great event and we hope to come back again. It gets the whole family involved in something that is creative and fun. Everyone had a blast!"

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