Pumpkins set to launch as chunk returns to Sussex

After two years, fans, teams anxious to get back to action
October 28, 2016

Story Location:
Route 404
Bridgeville  Delaware
United States

It's autumn and more than leaves will be falling soon in a cornfield near Bridgeville. Once again it's time for the annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin, Friday, November 4, Saturday, Nov. 5 and Sunday, Nov. 6., at the Wheatley Farm after a two-year hiatus.

Punkin Chunkin started in 1986 in Lewes when a few close friends gathered in a field to chunk leftover Halloween pumpkins.

This year, more 100 teams from around the world are traveling to Sussex County with their trebuchets, centrifugals, torsions, catapults and air cannons to compete for the coveted one-mile shot and a new world record. The current world-record shot is 4,694 feet set by American Chunker in 2013, which is just over 500 feet from the mile mark.

It took teams several years to break over the 4,000-foot mark until Georgetown team Old Glory went over 4,200 feet in 2004 and the Second Amendment team shot one more than 4,300 feet in 2005. The top four air cannons all eclipsed the 4,000-foot mark in 2011.

With two years of testing and tuning, teams are eager to see how they will stack up against other competitors who they haven't seen recently, said Rich King, World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association spokesman.

Besides flying pumpkins, each day includes entertainment complete with bands and vendors. On the schedule is a pumpkin cooking contest, chili cook-off contest and the Miss Punkin Chunkin Pageant, as well as games for children.

This year's event is not BYOB. A large beer garden with local craft beers will be available.

Science Channel will be covering the event again, bringing Mythbusters alumni Kari Byron and Tory Belleci, as well as cohost Kyle Hill to the Wheatley's cornfield. This year's show will debut at 8 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 26.

Tim Smith from the popular show Moonshiners will be stopping by Punkin Chunkin on Nov. 5 near the Second Amendment air cannon team location.

Spectators can save money by purchasing tickets online in advance, or by attending the event on Friday, Nov. 4, or Sunday, Nov. 6, when ticket prices are reduced.

Punkin Chunkin has donated over a million dollars to charity since 2000. Volunteers are needed to help with set up on Saturday, Oct. 29. Go to for more information.

Three world records were set at the 2013 event:

Adult air cannon: American Chunker, Merrimak, N.H., 4,694 feet

Female air cannon: Hormone Blaster, Georgetown, 4,382 feet

Adult centrifugal: Bad to the Bone, Milton, 3,245 feet


Competition begins each day at 8 a.m. with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m.

Friday, Nov. 4

2-3:15 p.m. Band performance

3:30-4:45 p.m. Band performance

5-6:15 p.m. – Lincoln City

7-9 p.m. – J C Anderson

Saturday, Nov. 5

12:30-1:45 p.m. Band performance

2-3:15 p.m. Scrapple

3:30-4:45 p.m. Band performance

5:00 – 6:30 p.m. Judy Sings the Blues

7-9 p.m. – J C Anderson

Sunday, Nov. 6

10:30-11:30 a.m. – Miss Punkin Chunkin Pageant, Little Miss, Young Miss and Junior Miss

11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. – Miss Punkin Chunkin Pageant, Ms. and Mrs. Punkin Chunkin

12:45-1:45 p.m. – Glory Road

3:30-5 p.m. – Lincoln City

5:30 p.m. – Awards ceremony on the main stage, 50/50 winner announced and crowning of 2016 world champion