The Pumpkin Derby is a unique race featuring handcrafted, decorated pumpkin racers battling head-to-head for the coveted Pumpkin Derby Championship Trophy. There is also a competition for racer design and decoration. 

pumpkin derby


Pumpkin Racers are vehicles constructed from one pumpkin or fall gourd with independent axles and wheels attached. Pumpkin racers come in all different shapes, sizes and speeds. Check out this video and see below for more specifics!

Time & Location

The derby will be held on Main Street between Prospect St. and Bridge St. in downtown Phoenixville. Races begin at 12:30pm, and check-in is between 11:00 am and noon at the Phoenixville Pumpkinfest Derby Information Table, located on Main Street.


Grand Champion: Grand Prize trophy & iPad

2nd Place: Air Wars Battle Drone Set

3rd Place: Razor A2 Kick Scooter

Design: Trophy & a Kindle Fire

Online Registration now closed. Walk-up registration available for $5 at Derby table tomorrow.

Online registration is FREE. Deadline is October 19, 6pm.

Onsite registration will be available for $5 from 11am and noon on October 20, at Pumpkinfest.

the details
rules, regulations, & tips 


  1. Pumpkin racers will race in heats of four to six at a time down the track.

  2. There is no penalty for pumpkin racers bumping into each other.

  3. Pumpkin racers will be released at the top of the track at the signal. 

  4. The race officials will determine a winner. Please do not argue with race officials.

  5. All "Cheater Pumpkins" will be destroyed by race officials after the cheater race (with permission of the Racer’s constructor). 



Racers will be inspected at check-in and any car not built to specs will be deemed a Cheater! If you did not intend to cheat, please let the race official know at the time of inspection. Due to limited space, only one pumpkin racer entry per person. Children under 16 should be assisted and registered by an adult.

1. Axles must be attached to or go through the Pumpkin.

  • At least one axle must pierce or go directly into the pumpkin.

  • Any number of axles may be used.

  • Axels may not be connected or tied together in any way (internally or externally).

  • Nothing that could be considered a chassis can be used with your pumpkin. For example, you may not attach a pumpkin to a skateboard or wagon or roller blade frame with wheels.

  • You may not hook your axles together in any way (e.g. , wire ties, string, frame connecting the two axels.)

2. Any size wheels are acceptable as long as your racer can fit inside the 18-inch lane.

3. Your pumpkin may be powered only by gravity on our track.

  • No outside propellers, such as a fan or motor; pyrotechnics, such as rockets, or fireworks; or remote control technology are permitted.

  • You may not push your pumpkin racer.

5.  Your Pumpkin may not exceed 20 pounds.

6.  Your complete pumpkin racer must be able to fit inside the 18-inch-wide lane without interfering with other racers at the starting gate. (Interference during the race, however, is a part of racing.)​

CHeckin & Registration

  • Due to limited space, only one pumpkin racer entry per person. Children under 16 should be assisted and registered by an adult. 

  • Online registration is available until 6pm on October 19 (the night before the contest). Registrants should check in at Pumpkinfest from 11am–12 noon.

  • Onsite registration is available for $5 on the day of the event, during checkin from 11am–12pm. No registrations are permitted after 12 noon. 

  • All pumpkins will be inspected by the Pumpkin Inspector at time of registration. Once your racer has passed inspection, it will receive a number that must be clearly displayed on your racer. The pumpkin racer’s owner must also wear the number.

  • Following a passing inspection, you may not modify your racer. It will be put on display until the Decoration and Design contest has been judged.

  • Following judging, owners are responsible for collecting their pumpkin racer and reporting to the start for their individual heat, as determined by the race officials.




Some folks intentionally break the rules to create an over-the-top pumpkin racer monstrosity. These cheater racers, as we fondly refer to them, race in their own heat against the most monstrous of all cheater pumpkin racers: the Cheater Beater. At the end of the race, cheater pumpkins go down in a blaze of glory at the hands of race officials (with their creators' permission, of course).



Phoenixville restaurants and businesses get in on the pumpkin-racing action, too! The respective winners of each race win the coveted Grand Champion trophy, which is passed around year-to-year to the new Grand Champion title holders. Be sure to come on out and cheer on your favorite restaurant or business in the races!


Restaurant Race 

2017 Restaurant Grand ChampionMolly McGuire's

Business Race

2017 Business Grand ChampionThe Design Grove

2016 Business Grand ChampionPhoenix Karate 

2015 Business Grand ChampionLulu Boutique and Gifterie 

If your business or restaurant is interested in entering the derby, register here! Rules are the same as for the regular derby; check-in is at 1:30 pm, and the race is run at 1:45 pm. If your business would prevent you from being present at the derby, enter anyway, and we will race your pumpkin racer for you! 

Tips from the Pros

  • Be sure to carefully read the rules to understand how to build a “legal” Pumpkin Racer.

  • A bigger or heavier Pumpkin Racer is not a faster Pumpkin Racer. Rarely does the biggest win.

  • The best way to build a fast Racer is to make sure the axles are parallel, so it will roll straight down the track. Many competitors are eliminated because their Pumpkin Racer veers to the side before it crosses the finish line. Check to make sure they are parallel before every heat.

  • Make sure all of your wheels spin freely! We recommend using at the very least 2.5-inch wheels. If your wheels are too small, your Pumpkin Racer will not get very far. One grand champion used large bucket lids. So don’t be afraid to think outside the wheel.

  • Be sure your pumpkin racer has enough ground clearance! The race takes place on a street with bumps and dips. Be sure your pumpkin racer is high enough to clear them.

  • Have fun making your pumpkin racer! Pick a theme and be creative. Often, the crowd favorites are the most fun and creative ones. If you can’t win, then lose with style!

  • You probably have plenty of good parts around the house or out in your garage. You can take wheels off bikes, strollers, lawn mowers, or even use a combination of wheel types. Any good hardware store should be able to assist you with axles and hardware and even give you some tips.

Building a

Pumpkin Racer


Many tutorials like this one can be found online, but be these are only to be used as a helpful tools. Be sure not to violate any of Phoenixville Pumpkinfest rules while following instructions from other websites.

*this video is not created by Phoenixville Pumpkinfest

Decoration & Design

In addition to competing on the derby track, your pumpkin racer hast the option to compete in the category of Best Decoration and Design. These racers will be displayed prior to the races from noon to 12:30 for judging by Phoenixville artists and event sponsors. Judging is based on design, detail, creativity, and originality.


  • Decoration and Design display and judge’s evaluation occurs from 12:00–12:30 before the beginning of the derby races.

  • Pumpkins may be carved or uncarved, and decorated in any manner, as long as they fit within the 18-inch-wide race lane.

  • Please make your designs family friendly.

  • Prize is awarded to the best-decorated pumpkin.