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There’s only a few weeks until we discover who will be crowned this year’s lord of the gourd, as the World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition is set to hit the skies from November 4-6. Each year there are more and more pumpkins serving as projectiles—as well as machinery dedicated to launching the orange orbs—so this might be the best year yet.
Unfortunately registration to launch your own pumpkin is now closed, but that’s fine with us as it’s probably better to just enjoy being a spectator. The main events take place where they always do—Bridgeville, Delaware—and the fun starts each day at around 7:30am. There’s live music, fireworks, and even a chili cook-off, but obviously the main attraction are the weapons of mass pumpkin destruction.
If you’ve got a leftover pumpkin taking up space on your front steps or fire escape, we’ve got a suggestion on where to bring it. The annual Punkin Chunkin is taking place this weekend in Bridgeville, Delaware. There will be pumpkin recipes contests here—after all who can resist some pie—but the festival’s stars will be hundreds of devices attempting to launch pumpkins as far as possible.
This is the 25th anniversary of the festival, so expect teams to be even more prepared than usual. Not only will there be air-powered cannons, but there will be catapults as well as medieval replica trebuchets. The overall distance record is still standing from 2008—an air cannon shot a poor little pumpkin over 4,400 feet—so we’re hoping that this year someone can break the mile marker with their pumpkin launcher.
When was the last time you woke up, looked out over water, and caught sight of a sailing ship straight out of the 1600s? It's a rare occurrence, but one that's a bit easier to come by if you're hanging out on coast of Delaware, as we have this week.
Somewhere between the energy of Rehoboth Beach, the uber-relaxation of Lewes and the frenzy of the outlet malls between them, we spied this awesome ship, which we discovered is the HMS Kalmar Nyckel, a reconstruction of a Dutch-built armed merchant ship from 1638. While the original was lost at sea in the late 17th century after a short career of bringing Swedish settlers to America, the new Kalmar Nyckel (constructed in 1997) continues to hit the high seas for "Pirate Sails," charter cruises and daytime trips out of the harbor at the Lewes-Cape May Ferry Terminal in Lewes (pronounced "lewis").
Besides working on health care reform and extending the housing credit, members of Congress are working on another pressing issue. Those from Delaware’s congressional district are looking to get the ball rolling on the creation of the state’s first national park. We’re all for more national parks, but we’ve been through Delaware, and park isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, we hear the Delaware Water Gap is pretty nice and it’s already a National Recreation Area—too bad it's not in Delaware.
Senator Thomas Carper is the one pushing hard for the First State National Historical Park, and he wants $5 million to preserve land near New Castle and to probably build a cool gift shop. Things at the park would focus on the state’s early settlers from Europe as well as other stuff perfect for an elementary school field trip. Besides the attractions in New Castle, there will also be sites outside of town like the Old Swedes Church in Wilmington.
Halloween is a great time for pumpkins as they are the stars of the show. However, after their big day, things go down hill pretty quickly. One of the worst places for a pumpkin, as it's where the globe is forced to meet its fate, is at the annual Punkin Chunkin events in Delaware. Here, teams compete to launch pumpkins as far as possible. These aren’t just simple slingshots, but are pretty complicated pieces of machinery and engineering. There are air-powered cannons, medieval trebuchets, and trusty catapults. Kids are even welcome to participate, just make sure that Mom and Dad don’t do all the work.
The air cannons are the coolest and probably most dangerous. The current world record was set at last year’s festival as a pumpkin was chucked 4483.51 feet. The other pumpkin launches do pretty well too, and you won’t be disappointed as the orange orbs are launched well over 2,000 feet into an open field. If you can’t make it to this year festival, don’t worry; you’ll be able to watch a replay of the day’s events on Thanksgiving night on the Science Channel.