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Pumpkins take to the air at Aurora's annual Punkin Chunkin this weekend

Posted at 1:39 PM, Oct 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-02 11:16:22-04

AURORA, Colo. — Pumpkins will fly over Aurora this weekend at the annual Punkin Chunkin Colorado festival.

More than 20 teams of “pumpkin chuckers” from across the country will compete in the annual pumpkin-launching competition at the Arapahoe Park Racetrack, 26000 E. Quincy Ave. Many will aim to break world records with all sorts of techniques.

The Punkin Chunkin teams are split into divisions based on machinery used to launch the pumpkins, and age. The divisions are: air cannon, trebuchet, catapult, centrifugal, torsion, human-powered and youth.

The machine-based divisions are defined as:

  • Trebuchet: Powered solely by gravity, these machines use a counterweight attached to an arm to swing around the pumpkin attached to a sling and release at an optimal angle
  • Catapult: Similar to a Trebuchet in terms of an arm swinging around a pumpkin attached to a sling, with the exception that these machines are normally powered by springs or rubber bands
  • Air cannon:  Using compressed air (nothing flammable), these machines shoot pumpkins more than 4,000 feet
  • Centrifugal:  These machines build up centrifugal force and release the pumpkin at the optimal trajectory for an outstanding distance shot
  • Torsion: This uses twisted rope as its primary source of power. The rope stores mechanical energy when it is twisted. The amount of force it releases is proportional to the amount it is twisted

Each division will have its own winner, and there will be one overall distance winner.

Just how far have pumpkins been thrown at this event? The current record was set in 2015 at 4,787 feet — almost a mile — by an air cannon nicknamed “Big 10 Inch.”

In addition to the pumpkin-launching competition, families can enjoy other fall activities like pumpkin picking and pony rides. A petting zoo, pumpkin carver, face painting, crafts, live music and more will also be available. Carve War’s chainsaw carving is new for 2018. Renowned chainsaw artists will carve one-of-a-kind masterpieces from tree trunks during the show.

Various vendors will serve coffee, wine and craft beer.

Punkin Chunkin Colorado will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available here or at the gate. Children 4 years old and younger get in for free and admission for anybody older than 5 years old is $5. Parking is free. Dogs, glass bottles, marijuana, firearms and smoking are not allowed.