Thursday, October 11, 2012

2011 Punkin Chunkin

Posting almost a year later...

I never really talked about our weekend to Delaware for Punkin Chunkin. It was great traveling RV-style - drinking and peeing whenever I want! - and the trip there went smoothly. Aaron and I went to Vermilion Thursday night, and we left Friday morning around 7:30 am. We arrived in Bridgeville, DE before 5. That includes stops to switch drivers, get something to eat and sign in at Punkin Chunkin. Not a bad trip, actually (says the girl who spent the entire time reading and daydreaming).

Once arrived, we met up with Adam and basically just bullshitted for a while. I made chili before we went, so I heated it up. Paired with some cornbread and all the toppings (and a few beers), that was dinner.

Afterward, Aaron, Adam and I loaded up a small cooler with session beer (read: Yuengling, Coors Light and Coors Original; there was a no bottles rule, although that didn't appear to be enforced much - I actually saw someone with a bottle of Natural Light /gross/) and decided to explore a bit, but the chunkin' site was closed up for the night. So we just wandered around the campsites, talking to strangers and freezing our asses off. We were all tired, so it was an early evening (midnight-ish).

Saturday, we were up kind of early. Aaron and I wanted to go for a run, but it wasn't all that feasible. There are a TON of rednecks at this thing, so we didn't want to run in the camp (plus, we were camped on a cornfield, so although the cornstalks were chopped down, it was still a pretty bumpy surface). The road wasn't a better option because this was a HUGE event. Way too many people coming in. I think there ended up being 40k or 50k people there over the entire weekend.

So we just got ready and headed over to the chunkin' site. And that's where things got really underwhelming. You can't get very close to the launching unless you have a pit pass, and you can't buy pit passes - you have to be a competitor or know someone. The vendors were pretty crappy - very expensive and mostly not very good (and I love carnival food!).

The centrifugal machines were probably the best to watch, but it was a little disconcerting at the same time - as they wound up, some of them sounded like they were coming apart. You'd think the air cannons would be the best - they certainly sound the best - but they're just so powerful that you can't even see the pumpkin leave the cannon. The pumpkins are specially bred 8- to 10-pound white pumpkins, and there's condensation/steam coming out too - in the cloudy sky. Very hard to see and to follow the pumpkins as they fly through the sky. I'm not really sure how distance is calculated, although I know it's GPS. There are a bunch of people on ATVs waiting for the pumpkins to land.

The entrants provide their own pumpkins, and the really serious competitors grow their own, turning them on a set schedule to ensure roundness. These pumpkins have a really thick rind, so they're not as hollow as your standard jack-o-lantern pumpkin.

We hung out there for the day and then headed back to the RV for dinner: brisket, baked potatoes, baked beans and Nutter Butters and Nutty Buddy bars for dessert. And more beer. By that time, it was colder than it was the previous night, so we played it lame and sat in the warm RV, drank beer and watched football (yay for digital television in the RV).

We had to get up early anyhow. Up super-early (thanks to the time change, it wasn't all that painful, though) so we could head to Adam's and take his RD back to Ohio for the winter. Easy drive there, easy drive home. Even though we went all the way back to Vermilion to park the RV and unload the RD, we were home by 6:30. Perfect timing to head to Ray's for dinner and a couple of beers before getting back to real life.

All in all, I wouldn't go again, unless Aaron's dad really wanted to go. I wouldn't plan to buy any lunch/dinner there (save your money for funnel cakes or cake pops - skip the "real" food), and I'd definitely take a cooler and some chairs over to the chunkin' site. But unless you can procure a pit pass, it doesn't seem worth it to me.

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