But there's no better way to take care of a pumpkin than throwing it three-quarters of a mile, so a ThinkGeek monkey did some recon at the World Championship Punkin Chunkin in Sussex County, Delaware where engineering meets pumpkin guts.
Punkin Chunkin '09: Sights and sounds and ATVs
The championship started back in 1986, pretty much on a dare, and the winning pumpkin throw was just 126 feet. (The current World Record distance for any kind of chunk is 4483.51 feet, or .84 miles, or approximately 36 times more kickass.)
In all, there's 5 kinds of chunkers: Air Cannon, Centrifugal, Catapult, Trebuchet, Human Powered, and Torsion. The longest shot this year was 4162.65 feet by an air cannon named "Big 10 Inch," and "Yankee Siege" set a new world trebuchet record of 2034.21 feet.
Which is to say: it's amazing to watch.
Basically, they line up the cannons along two sides of a rectangular (formerly corn) field, and they chunk from 9 am to dusk for 3 days. Those who aren't chunking are almost certainly drinking--some spectators (coughcollegekidscough) brought couches, grills, and beer pong tables--and there was lots of fair-type food, including kettle corn, BBQ, sausages, and pumpkin funnel cake.
A few recommendations if you go next year:
- Plan on the drive taking an extra hour or more at the end. Traffic was stop and go for 3 miles outside of the chunk on Saturday afternoon this year.
- Wear stout shoes. You'll be walking in a furrowed field.
- Be prepared for crowds. Drunken crowds. (Alternatively: bring booze.)
- If you want a good picture of punkins in flight, bring a decent camera. They get very tiny, very fast.
Watch Punkin Chunkin: Born to Chunk on the Science Channel this Thanksgiving. Apparently they're making a television event out of footage from last year's chunk. The footage alone would be worth the watch, but we're betting the local color makes for good viewing, too.