Will Punkin Chunkin return to Delaware? - Technical.ly Delaware

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Feb. 10, 2020 1:12 pm

Will Punkin Chunkin return to Delaware?

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association wants to "Bring Us Home" after a year away.
A Punkin Chunkin cannon in 2008.

A Punkin Chunkin cannon in 2008.

(Photo by Flickr user Nick, under a Creative Commons license)

Punkin Chunkin — a Delaware tradition going back to 1986 — is looking to return to its roots, the Delaware State News reports.

After a small but successful World Championship of Punkin Chunkin event taking place in Rantoul, Illinois, in 2019, the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) announced that an effort was underway to partner with the state or one of the counties for the 2020 competition in Delaware.

The number of competitors in 2019 in Illinois was about 30, down from about 110 when it was held in Bridgeville in Sussex County. None of the 2019 teams were from Delaware, suggesting that local competitors weren’t able to travel to compete.

WCPCA’s “Bring Us Home” campaign is meant to get the word out across the region, especially rural areas with the 600-acre minimum space the competition requires (as chucked pumpkins can travel as far as a mile). Ultimately, WCPCA’s goal is to give back to the competition’s host community in the form of charitable donations and scholarships.

While no deadline has yet been set for this year’s competition, last year Delaware had until May 1 to provide a site. When that deadline passed, WCPCA began accepting offers from other states. In a release, the WCPCA stated that it will look beyond Delaware again if necessary, starting with Maryland and Virginia.

Specifically, the WCPCA is looking to partner with state- or county-owned land.

“Without needed legislation limiting the liability that non-profit organizations and landowners leasing their property may be exposed to from frivolous lawsuits, holding the event on private property within the state is not feasible,” the official press release states. “A partnership with the state of Delaware or one of our counties to hold the event on state/county-owned land would extend such protections to the WCPCA.”

Punkin Chunkin’s growing popularity in the early aughts led to its biggest challenges. By 2013, the event in Bridgeville the event had become so high-tech and complex it drew attention from around the world. After a two-year break, it returned in 2016, when the serious injury of a producer for the Science Channel, a major sponsor of that year’s event, nearly ended the event altogether.

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