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Next week, the Grace Church in Fremont is looking for pumpkins with a need for speed.

The church is hosting its first annual Fremont Pumpkin Derby. Similar to the Pinewood Derby, where children are invited to design a small wooden car to race down an incline, the Pumpkin Derby has kids attaching wheels to pumpkins and sending them hurling down an incline in a race for first place.

The event, which will occur at the church on sixth street in downtown Fremont will be happening alongside other seasonal events happening in downtown Fremont, along with trick or treating at participating businesses, as part of MainStreet of Fremont’s Halloween Hysteria.

Grace Church’s assistant pastor Brandon Van Marel hopes the Pumpkin Derby says he’s not sure what the turnout will be for the church’s inaugural event, but he hopes that, over time, it’ll become a popular, yearly event.

“My hope is that it’ll get pretty big,” he said. “We’re just trying to have a lot of fun, trying to create something new and exciting … trying to be faithful members of the downtown community.”

The event will be held Thursday, Oct. 18. Kids should register their pumpkins for the race between 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. and the competitions will begin at 5 p.m.

There will be three categories of races divided by pumpkin size: small, medium and large. Prior to any of the races, there is also a pumpkin decorating contest, where children can bring in decorated pumpkins and compete for a chance to be selected by a panel of judges to be the best decorated.

“You’ll decorate your pumpkin, something festive, any way that you want to, and then you will receive a prize for the best decorated pumpkin,” Van Marel said.

For the races, the Pumpkin-mobiles should be designed prior to race day. They should be designed to accelerate solely with gravity, helped only by the downward incline of the racetrack. That means no motors, fans or other sources of power. Additionally, they shouldn’t be simply attached to a skateboard—the derby rules dictate that wheels should be attached to the pumpkin through two independent axles inserted through the pumpkin, and that pumpkin vehicles should not exceed 20 inches in width.

Otherwise, contestants are invited to design their pumpkins however they’d like.

“It’s a lot of fun to watch, the pumpkins are decorated all up nice and they race against each other, some of them fall over and don’t make it down the ramp,” Van Marel said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch.”

The event is free to attend and participate in and additional rules and regulations can be found at www.gracefremontpca.org.

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