Pumpkins will fly

  • (Lorrie Ross • Clay County Progress) The pumpkin pie eating contests held at 2:30 p.m. each day are popular for all ages. Young and old are cheered on as they each eat their way through a pumpkin pie, covered with whipped cream.
    (Lorrie Ross • Clay County Progress) The pumpkin pie eating contests held at 2:30 p.m. each day are popular for all ages. Young and old are cheered on as they each eat their way through a pumpkin pie, covered with whipped cream.
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Cool weather should make for a great 11th annual Clay County Punkin Chunkin. If you have never seen a pumpkin fly, Punkin Chunkin is your chance. Catapults, air cannons, trebuchets and other powerful machines, toss pumpkins up to several thousand feet in a battle between world champion pumpkin chunkers and the home teams.

Local favorites include Tony and Butch Wiegold with their Hayesville Hurlers air cannon and Matt Davis returns with FSS, a centrifugal machine. Team Carbo crosses the state from Clayton, N.C. with its torsion catapult, Onager, while Shoulda-Knowed-Better brings back its large glass structure.

Once again, OFC Knightmare will make the trip from Midland, Mich. to compete in Clay County. Clay County Chamber Director Pam Roman said other teams may still be coming.

Punkin Chunkin weekend kicks off at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 18 with the “Anything Pumpkin” and chili cook-off competition on the Historic Hayesville Square. For a small fee, guests may try a little of everything, but the food goes fast since it is first come first serve. A variety of chili recipes share the tables with pumpkin concoctions of many types. If it rains, the cookoff will move to The Gathering Place at Hayesville First United Methodist Church.

In addition to the pumpkin throwing, there will be pumpkin pie-eating contests, live entertainment, food and craft vendors and a flight simulator. Tractors, airplane rides and a zipline, will join carnival rides and a climbing wall. The Kidzone is always a popular place with lots of kids’ activities. An area for interactive children’s activities has been added and the children get to take home what they have made. Adults may enjoy a seat in the beer and wine tent while watching the Punkin Chunkin.

Punkin Chunkin’s weekend schedule is:

• Gates open at 10 a.m. both days.

• Get up close and personal with the machines from 12-12:30 p.m. but you need to arrive early enough to sign releases.

• The Sea Notes will perform at 12 p.m. both days.

• Machines launch at 1 p.m. both days.

• Pumpkin pie-eating at 2:30 p.m. both days.

Punkin Chunkin is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 19-20. Parking is $3 per vehicle and admission is $5 for adults, kids six to 10 are $3 and kids five and under 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.

Sponsored by the Clay County Chamber of Commerce, the main event is held at 811 Settawig Road in Brasstown. No pets or firearms allowed. Lawn chairs are encouraged. Visit: www.claychambernc.com/punkin-chunkin or call 389-3704.