Ever wonder what happens to all of the pumpkins there were picked for Halloween but don’t sell? Do the local produce stands just let them rot away? Are they cut open for the seeds? Or are they launched from giant 60-foot cannon that send them whizzing 2,000-feet through the air?
Those who attended Punkin Chunkin last weekend known that watching the pumpkins soar through the sky is the most exciting option.
Many folks who live on the Eastern Shore turn giddy just thinking about the weekend after Halloween. The yearly pumpkin-launching event known as Punkin Chunkin draws dozens of pumpkin-hurling teams to backwoods and farmlands of Delaware. The teams competed last weekend to see who had created the ultimate pumpkin throwing machine.
Hurricane Sandy’s recent visit to our shorelines dropped roughly 8.5 inches of rain on Bridgeville, DE – the town in which Punkin Chunkin takes place – over a four day period. Adjacent areas received up to 11 inches to rain. Standing water, murky puddles, and mud bogs had formed in the fields that are used for parking at the event.
John Huber, the President of the Punkin Chunkin Association, cleared rumors of a cancelled pumpkin throwing event last Thursday afternoon,
“The 2012 Punkin Chunkin event is not canceled! Friday has turned into a set up day for the event to recover from Sandy, but Saturday and Sunday are still planned to go on without delay.”
The event typically lasts all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This year, the event was shortened to just two days.
None of the weather-related delays took attention away from the 100+ lineup of teams that competed. 14 states were represented this year.
There were several different classes for chunkers to enter. Machine classes included centrifugal, catapult, trebuchet, air cannon, and human powered torsion. There were adult, female, and youth categories.
Last year, it was estimated that nearly 20,000 people showed up to see the machinists launch pumpkins out of the wacky devises. Thousands of visitors from Delaware, Maryland and surrounding states traveled to Bridgeville last weekend, many whom had attended the event in years past and didn’t let mud defer their fun and entertainment.
“The crowds were good and everyone seemed to be making the best of it and having a good time,” said Punkin Chunkin Association’s intern, Ashley.
Each machine competing made three attempts to fire during one measured competition on both Saturday and Sunday. After each machine had fired competitively, the range was opened for ‘free fires’. Event spectators enjoyed watching the crews have fun with the pumpkin throwing gadgets during the free rounds.
“2,123-feet today. We ended up winning! We are Punkin Chunkin champions!” announced Team Urban Siege on Sunday afternoon. Urban Siege competed in the trebuchet pumpkin launching division.
If you didn’t make it to the 2012 event, don’t worry. Pumpkin Chunkin will be broadcast on Thanksgiving Day on the Discovery Channel or Science Channel. The simulcast is planned to air on Thursday, November 22nd at 8 pm.