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My punkin’s chunked!


     Nudged by friends, Kathy and I headed off to become part of Delaware history today in witnessing and celebrating the 23rd Annual PUNKIN CHUNKIN World Championship.  [See for all the hokey details.]

     People come from virtually every state, and many different countries (including England, Bulgaria, and even California ;<) to see and experience man-made Rube Goldberg-style non-motorized catapult contraptions hurl real pumpkins hundreds of feet up into the air, and as far as nearly a mile across flattened cornfields . . . more impressive than even Reggie Jackson home runs in Octobers past.

     The devices use giant rubberbands, levers, pulleys, swivels, compressed air, heavy people jumping off ladders onto see-saw-style slingers, and virtually every other propulsion scheme known to science and garage inventors.

     Now, we’re not talking about small time events here.  There were approximately 150 venders and a a dozen world-class rides (two of which created instant nausea just to look at).  The schedule featured dozens of quality bands (including The Charlie Daniel’s Band and Randy Owen, Alabama’s lead singer) plus cooking contests, a Miss Punkin Chunkin Pagent, lots of fireworks, and food and drinks galore. 

     My unofficial guess is that there were at least a hundred thousand vehicles at the gourd flinging contests, a three-day weekend phenomenon. 

     Most cars and trucks and SUV’s looked to be filled with people and tailgate picnic paraphernalia (including full-length sofas; wide-screen TV’s; thousand-dollar grills; fully-stocked bars and kitchens on wheels; thousands of RV’s, ATV’s, golfcarts and motorcycles.  “A redneck Woodstock,” someone called it, though I must confess I didn’t see anyone cooking out on upsidedown shopping carts!

     $2 to park and $9 per adult admission probably translates to roughly $30+ average take per vehicle.  Much of the proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and to agriculture scholarship funds.

     So, good for you, Hal; what’s the point?

     The point is that the only incident we even heard about all day was that security teams reunited a lost three year-old with his parents.  Bridgeville, Deleware, and Delaware State Police were prominently in attendance, and good-naturedly tolerant. 

     The point is that electioneering was parked outside the front gate, and so were people’s economic woes.  My guess is that mainstream media would not have liked seeing so many happy spirited souls just three days before Election Day; it would have flown in the face of the grimacing, suffering images they’re trying so desperately to portray to sell more advertising time and space.

     The point is that the event is so utterly stupid that it’s just plain fun, and a distraction from political bombardments that was more than worthy of the couple of miles of trekking from parking space to the carefully planned pumpkin launch and drop and smash area. 

     The point is it was refreshing to see this piece of Americana alive and well and being enjoyed by people having a good time.  If you’re nearby, try it tomorrow.  If you’re not, it’s really worth planning for next year.  See you there!  Halalpiar    

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