The day after Halloween most families are recovering from their candy induced hangovers. This year the Shump Clan was up bright and early to make the trek from our humble abode in Philadelphia to the open land of southern Delaware for the
2008 World Championship Punkin Chunkin.
Punkin Chunkin is an annual pumpkin launching competition held the first weekend after Halloween. On a farm outside of Bridgeville the machines of war are gather, ready to loose their gourds on the field of battle.
The Chunk hosts carnival rides, concerts, mechanical bulls and moon bounces but the real fun is had watching the competition. There really is something great about being able to take your kids to see siege weapons at work. You’ll find a wide range of builds, from pneumatic air cannons and centripetals to catapults and trebuchets. The teams range from backyard ballistic hobbyists to groups of college engineering students. Some of these machines are huge, standing multiple stories tall and requiring thousands of hours to construct.
This year’s event was an absolute blast (pun intended). The boy and I had front row seats along the firing line for the catapults and trebuchets. There was a near miss with one group launching their pumpkin back up over the crowds and landing near the parking lot. Immediately following that failed attempt, the next team’s catapult cracked under pressure, literally. The machine imploded, collapsing in on itself in spectacular fashion. My personal favorite is the Yankee Siege (pictured at right). This beast stands nearly 64 feet and weighs more than 52,000lbs. The unofficial results have it winning the trebuchet competition this year with a throw of 1,897 feet, a new world record!
Sadly the Chunk is over, and we have another 357 days to wait until we see those orange orbs fly again. If you are looking for a good way to shrug off the post Halloween blues, then pack your bags and head on down to the Chunk next year. You’ll be glad you did!