Punkin Chunkin gets green flag to go at Dover International Speedway

DOVER –– After a 2014 hiatus, Punkin Chunkin is back in 2015 for its 28th year of hurling pumpkins. The event has been held in Sussex County each year, but this year’s Chunk is making a location change, moving north to Kent County’s Woodlands at Dover International Speedway.

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) announced its plans on Friday to host the 2015 event Nov. 7-8 on the speedway’s grounds, which also host the Firefly Music Festival and Big Barrel Country Music Festival.

“We’re thrilled to play host to such a uniquely Delaware, celebrated event,” said Mike Tatoian, president and CEO of Dover International Speedway.
“Punkin Chunkin’s fun-loving fan base, teamed with our infrastructure and experience with hosting large-scale events, should make for a terrific event this fall.”

Last year, there was a last-minute scramble to change venues after Wheatley Farms in Bridgeville, which hosted the event for seven years, gave organizers notice that they would not be hosting another Chunk.

Plans to move to DIS were in the works late last summer, after the WCPCA had vetted more than 50 locations in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, but plans were not finalized in time to move the event planned for Oct. 24-26, 2014, so the annual event was scrapped and set to resume this year.

The Chunk has attracted teams from around the world since 1986 that use mechanical devices to hurl pumpkins through the air. Competition categories include trebuchets, catapults, air cannons, centrifuges and more. So far, more than 100 contraptions are registered to compete.

In the past, the competition has focused mainly on distance. This year, due to the smaller grounds of The Woodlands, it will involve targets and other components.

“At times, the measuring and everything could take a while to come in, so this year, the competition should be moving at a quicker pace and it will be more engaging than before,” said Ricky Nietubicz, WCPCA president.

In addition to the competition portion, there will be food, live entertainment and a wide variety of activities for spectators to take advantage.

“While this year’s event won’t be one where we are throwing for overall distance, we are confident that it’s going to be the best show for the crowd that we’ve ever put on,” Mr. Nietubicz said.

WCPCA is a nonprofit organization supporting a wide range of local and national organizations, such as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Meals On Wheels, Bless our Children and Autism Delaware. All proceeds from the event will be donated.

“We are confident that it will raise a lot of money for our scholarship program and for the charities that we support on a local, regional and national level,” Mr. Nietubicz said.

Tickets are on sale for $10 per person per day, with an early bird special available for $16 per person for a two-day pass.

Tent and RV camping options are also available. For tickets and more information about the Chunk, call 800-441-7223 or visit www.PunkinChunkin.com.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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