November 2, 2012 - Punkin Chunkin Days

 This is a big event in Delaware. A bunch of people have created machines to throw pumpkins—the rule is, the pumpkin must leave the machine still whole—and during the next three days, those machines will go head-to-head (well, um, metal-to-metal?) in a giant punkin-chunkin contest. Who will win with the farthest pumpkin throw?

The contest has added a beauty pageant and cooking contest and chili cookoff and fireworks—lots of great stuff for the whole family! But the main event is watching the glorified slingshots and catapults and robot arms and other machines hurl pumpkins in an effort to achieve the longest, farthest pumpkin throw.

You can have your own miniature punkin chunkin day. Can you contrive a machine that can throw a small pumpkin? Think large rubber bands between two supports, or a catcher's mitt on a spring-lever, or a sling that can spin and then release, or...?

(Remember, the official Punkin Chunkin event started tiny—no audience, just three guys with their machines and some pumpkins. The first winning machine hurled a pumpkin 126 feet—and last year's winner flew farther than 3,000 feet, in front of a crowd of more than 20,000 people!)

Learn how the Chunkin machines work here

Instead of chunkin punkins, perhaps you'd like to start off small. How about building a catapult to hurl large marshmallows? 

UPDATE: Hurricane Sandy dropped a lot of water on the Punkin Chunkin fields, and they are still a bit muddy. Organizers are going to set up today but not will hold the planned Friday events and machine practice runs. 

Also on this date:

Mathematician George Boole's birthday 

All Souls' Day 

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