The die has been cast – or the pumpkin in this case.
If someone in the area does not step up by Wednesday, May 1, to provide a site for the annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin, organizers say they will pursue other options throughout the United States. “The membership has voted, and we have until May 1 to see if the world championship can remain on Delmarva,” according to a World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association Facebook posting.
The annual Sussex County event attracting thousands of fans was on hold four of the last five years. The last chunk took place three years ago. Due to insurance and logistics issues, the event – which began in 1986 in Lewes – was cancelled in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. It returned to the Wheatley Farm near Bridgeville in 2016. The event has never taken place in any place other than Sussex County.
On Feb. 8, organizers said they would stage the event again – if they can find a location. The group is searching for at least 600 acres to accommodate parking, camping, vending and participants.
Hundreds of teams in various divisions – from human powered to powerful air cannons – have competed for bragging rights over the event's three decades. Association President Frank Payton said about 600 acres are required because air cannons can fire pumpkins nearly one mile. “We have unique requirements, but we can be creative,” he said.
The event attained national attention when Science Channel became a sponsor, filmed the event and broadcast it as a Thanksgiving special. The sponsorship was withdrawn following the 2016 event, and the show was not broadcast that year due to a serious accident and eventual lawsuit involving a producer.
For more information, contact the association at firstname.lastname@example.org.