Punkin’ Chunkin’ Traditions
This past weekend, I embraced the essence of fall in the mountains and attended the annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ festival in Hayesville, N.C. I went to the festival for the first time last year on a whim. My boyfriend, Daniel, and I saw a sign around town advertising the event and I demanded that we go—mostly because there’s an episode of my favorite show, “Modern Family,” where they chunk pumpkins across a football field. I love the episode, but didn’t believe people actually participated in such a crazy thing, so I had to witness it for myself.
The festival runs for two days, and several teams line up different types of catapults they have designed and take turns flinging their pumpkins across an open field. Their scores are recorded by how many feet their catapult chunked the pumpkin, and the winner is named on the second and final day.
Last year, I went on a Saturday and, in the midst of the craziness of pumpkins flying everywhere, there was a chili cook-off and an “anything pumpkin” dessert competition. Daniel participated along with other festival attendees and even got to vote on what chili and dessert he liked best. This year, we went on a Sunday so we got to see who was declared the winner. The coolest part about the festival was that they were offering $15 airplane rides. The airplane was a tiny two-seater taking off and landing on a grass runway fairly close to where the pumpkin chunkers were launching their catapults. Daniel and our friend, Parker, both have their pilot’s licenses so they were extremely interested in going up in the plane and looking at the other planes they had parked in the field. Even though we’ve been flying with the boys before, my friend, Cassie, and I were apprehensive about any of us getting in the tiny plane. Although we didn’t go up in the air, it was still really cool to see them take off and land right in front of us. It was definitely a unique aspect of the already unique Punkin’ Chunkin.’
Like any festival, this one had delicious fair foods—funnel cakes, fried pickles, kettle corn, fried Twinkies and Oreos, kabobs, and hot dogs, just to name a few. I absolutely pigged out throughout the day. It was just too irresistible! In addition to the food, vendors sold items such as jewelry, yard ornaments and wooden toys. There was even a section of the gigantic field that had carnival-style rides for kids to go on. Even though I didn’t didn’t buy anything, it was still fun to walk around the festival grounds and look at everything the vendors had to offer.
The Punkin’ Chunkin’ festival did not disappoint. And, it brought one of my absolute favorite episodes of “Modern Family" to life! I hope that even after I graduate, the tradition of attending the festival with my friends will continue.
Until next week,