Friday, October 19, 2007

Don't toss it... chuck it

Some pumpkins find a new home nestled inside a pie this time of year or carved into that special jack-o-lantern. Others though will find a new home, possibly one town over by afternoon.

Yes, it isn't just fall and Halloween........... it's pumpkin-chucking season. That wonderful time of year when pumpkins learn to fly and residents of neighboring towns get nervous. The World Championship Punkin Chukin contest and billed as the oldest, begun in 1983 and largest competition takes place November 2-4 in Bridgeville, Del and organizers stated that more than 50,000 people watched 100 teams compete last year.

The record for distance set there in 2003 was set by launching a pumpkin 4,434 feet, approximately 500 feet short of a mile. Pumpkins can become airborne there with catapults, air compressors, centrifugal machines and trebuchets, whose design dates back to the Middle Ages and uses a counterweight to hurl objects into the air. There is also a "theatrical" category which states that distance isn't the objective but rather, the ability of the team to ham it up.

Another well known event is the Morton Punkin Chuckin contest, held on October 20-21 in Morton IL, home of 85 % of the world's canned pumpkin is manufactured. It began in 1996 and is held about 10 miles southeast of Peoria on the Uhlman family farm and attracts several thousand visitors a year. In years past, winners of the contest have appeared on both the David Letterman Show and with Jay Leno.

Tossing your pumpkins to the wind seems to have become more popular as there are numerous other contests held throughout the U S. These include a Pumpkin Chucking weekend, November 3-4 in Ellicott MD and the Pumpkin Chuck, November 3 held in Cincinnati's Stanbery Park. That event allows you to bring your own pumpkin or purchase one there and for $2, you can launch the hapless pumpkin skyward with a trebuchet.

With these choices, who would want to even think of just leaving that used jack-o-lantern on the front step till April of next year, not that I would ever do that.

For more information, go here and here.

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