Pumpkins will fly next weekend

  • (Lorrie Ross• Clay County Progress) Daily pumpkin pie eating contests gather dozens of people to cheer on their favorite pie eaters. The competition sometimes gets fierce between siblings or friends eating pie side by side.
    (Lorrie Ross• Clay County Progress) Daily pumpkin pie eating contests gather dozens of people to cheer on their favorite pie eaters. The competition sometimes gets fierce between siblings or friends eating pie side by side.
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It may look like there’s been a pumpkin revolt several days from now. No revolt, but it will be the 11th annual Clay County Punkin Chunkin, a time when pumpkins really fly. Where else can you see entire teams of adults using catapults, air cannons, trebuchets and other powerful machines, to toss pumpkins from a few hundred to thousands of feet? Local favorites with specially designed machines compete against huge world champion machines, some returning from hundreds of miles away to vie for the coveted title of Clay County Punkin Chunkin champion.

Punkin Chunkin weekend kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18, with the “Anything Pumpkin” and chili cook-off competition in the shadow of The Beal Center on the Historic Hayesville Square. Dishes from prior years have included chili varieties from basic to hot and mild chili and turkey chocolate chili; pumpkin and spinach rolls; pumpkin cornbread and even pumpkin whoopie pies. For a small fee, guests may try a little of everything, but the food goes fast since it is first come first serve.

Plan to spend at least one whole day at Punkin Chunkin because there is something for everyone. In addition to the pumpkin throwing contest, the event features free live entertainment, a large variety of food vendors, arts and craft booths and of course, pumpkin pie-eating contests. The Kidzone is always a popular place with lots of inflatables and other kids’ activities. Chamber director Pam Roman said there will be even more carnival-type games for children this year.

A beer and wine tent offers adults the chance to enjoy some shade while watching the Punkin Chunkin. Sponsored by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, the main event is held at 811 Settawig Road in Brasstown. The complete event schedule will be in the Oct. 17 edition of the Clay County Progress.

Punkin Chunkin is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 19 and 20. Parking is $3 per vehicle and admission is $5 for adults, kids five to 10 are $1 and kids under five are free. For the 2019 event, anyone wearing a Punkin Chunkin T-shirt will receive a $1 discount for Saturday’s admission. Then an aerial photo will be taken of everyone wearing the shirts. Admission includes unlimited viewing of the Punkin Chunkin, vendor shopping and many games; however, most other activities and food are an additional fee.

Those wishing to compete in the Punkin Chunkin must register ahead of time.  No pets or firearms allowed, but lawn chairs are encouraged.

Registrations and information are in the chamber office at 96 Sanderson Street in downtown Hayesville. Visit: www.claychambernc.com/punkin-chunkin or call 389-3704.