No flying pumpkins this year

Punkin Chunkin postponed until November 2015
October 3, 2014

Pumpkins will not fly this year in Delaware. For the first time in nearly 30 years, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin will not take place.

Organizers announced Oct. 3 that this year's event on the grounds across Route 1 from Dover International Speedway will be postponed until next November. The event had been planned for Oct. 24-26 at the same site as the Firefly music festival.

The amount of pre-planning, permitting and logistical detail required to hold the event in Kent County caught organizers off guard, said John Huber, president of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association.

The association voted earlier this year to move the event from the Wheatley farm near Bridgeville to Kent County. Since its inception in a Lewes field in 1986, the event has taken place at various Sussex locations.

“The level of detail required became very difficult with the time we had to work on it,” he said. “It was very different than how we put on the event in the Wheatley field in Sussex County. We didn't know this until we started to peel back the onion.”

Huber said after the decision was made to move the event from Sussex County to Kent County, the association started working with speedway and county officials. “But that process didn't start until July. Firefly and race organizers start planning their events a year in advance,” Huber said. “We want all of our plans to be on the shelf and ready in the spring for next fall's event.

“Moving an event the size of Punkin Chunkin is not easy even when time is not a factor,” Huber said. “Both the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association and Dover International Speedway were cautiously optimistic that the event would happen as scheduled. Ultimately, the collective decision was made to postpone the event.

“Both organizations are committed to hosting the event on Dover International Speedway grounds in 2015, and with one year of lead time, we are confident we can pull off a first-class event for fans, sponsors and competitors,” he said.

Huber said the association was geared up for the event in Kent County. “We thought we could put it all together like we've done for the past 28 years. But there were just too many requirements we've never had to work with before,” he said.

The decision to postpone the popular event became evident this week during discussions over a permit for public safety for fire, police and ambulance services, Huber said. “They handed the permit application back to us with lots still missing. We realized there was no way we could pull it off,” he said.

People who purchased tickets, camping sites or tailgating passes will get refunds on their credit cards within two weeks, Huber said. Questions concerning refunds can be directed to 800-441-7223.

Huber said 115 teams had registered for the 2014 event. Huber said teams will have the option to allow the association to hold their fees to ensure inclusion in next year's event.

Next year's event will take place Nov. 6-8.




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