Attack of the Flying Pumpkins!

aka, “Punkin Chunkin” in Clayton


Madison Raap, Contributor

Ever wonder what would happen if you catapulted a pumpkin? Me too!

Until I went to the Punkin’ Chunkin’ Festival in Clayton, I never even knew that it was a thing people actually did. Before you close out of this article because you think it is totally boring, just think about it. Pumpkins…flying…through…the..air!

This type of competition dates back to 1986 and started in someone’s backyard. This year was the 6th annual event in New York, but in places like Delaware it has been going on forever. The only time it had to stop was for a couple years when a metal plate flew off one of the machines and hit a woman, putting her in critical condition for more than 2 weeks. That was in 2011 and it came back around 2014-2015.

This year, there were separate division. Adults and teen teams build the catapults they use to launch pumpkins into the St. Lawrence River to see whose goes the farthest. The winner gets a prize trophy and bragging rights for a year.  

At the festival, this reporter witnessed a couple of pumpkins that instead of getting thrown forward into the water, they got thrown backwards over the netting they had for protection and into the crowd. This happened because they didn’t have enough speed to keep the pumpkin in the pouch that was holding it. No injuries were reported but this never failed to temporarily hush the huge crowd attending the event.

  Along with the regular competitors there was another catapult named Chunk Norris. This catapult is a traveling demonstrator, and their pumpkins went up to 250 miles per hour and went anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 feet. All the other catapults were lucky if they got 1,500 feet.

  If you’re not one for catapulting pumpkins (but who isn’t?) then there were plenty of other things for you to do. There were vendors all over the place and lots of fun activities. Food was everywhere and I got to enjoy a spiralled potato on a stick.

  I mean think about it, how many pumpkins are you going to see get catapulted throughout your lifetime? Not many, so if I was you I would take up the opportunity next year and head to the 7th Annual Punkin Chunkin Festival.