RiverOak operator Trevor Jamieson stands amongst the many pumpkins for a fundraising day involving catapulting pumpkins to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.       Van Dusen photo

Tom Van Dusen
Villager Contributor
KENMORE – A sea of mud, pumpkins flying through the air without a care, and live School of Rock music inside a repurposed log building; it was the perfect combination for a wet November Saturday afternoon.

At least, that’s what a constant stream of visitors to what in the winter is RiverOak Skating Trail seemed to think. Their main purpose for braving soggy conditions that day was to support Cystic Fibrosis research which was the beneficiary of the Pumpkin Launch.

Participants seemed to know what to expect on the launch grounds. Most wore barn boots or the equivalent. Most cars parked out on the highway; ones who entered the parking area frozen to a hard surface during skating season did so at the risk of getting stuck.

While it was the fifth edition of the event, it was the first time at RiverOak, said operator Trevor Jamieson. Previous launches were at Manotick where, combined, they raised close to $20,000 for CF.

The concept is straightforward. Jamieson brought in about 700 smallish pumpkins and, for $5 a shot, enthusiasts got to catapult them at targets further down the trail. In addition, there were vendors, hot chocolate and cookies inside, with at least partial proceeds going toward fighting the fatal genetic disease which affects children and young adults. There’s no cure.

The log building on the grounds was built by Jamieson using two disassembled log barns. Inside, out of the rain, veteran Russell Music Academy bands Castor River Crew and Full Circle entertained for several hours with a mixture of folk, rock and originals tunes. They performed free of charge.

“It was a good cause and a good opportunity for the bands to get out in front of the public,’’ said RMC instructor Alex McFarlane who was on electronic drums for CRC and keyboard for FC. “We mostly rehearse at the school, create new music, and play the occasional open mic on Friday nights. Getting out to a live gig is great experience.’’