Horticultural event will include pumpkin chunking contest
Writer: Robert Burns, 903-834-6191, email@example.com
OVERTON – This year’s Chunkapalooza has something for just about anyone of any age, including pumpkin ‘chunking,’ according to event organizers.
The event is free and open to the public, and will be held 1 to 4 p.m. at the Kilgore College Demonstration Farm, 2211 State Highway 135, about 2 miles northeast of Overton.
This is a collaborative event between the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Kilgore College, said Dr. Joe Masabni, AgriLife Extension horticulturist, Overton.
“We’ll have results of tomato and watermelon variety trials, and discuss vegetable production under high tunnels,” Masabni said.
“We wanted a county fair-like event, with both ‘just-for-fun’ and educational events,” said Dr. Karl Steddom, Kilgore College ag instructor.
In the just-for-fun category, there will be a pumpkin-painting contest for children 12 and under, a hayride, food samples from the Kilgore College culinary arts department, a farmers market and, of course, the pumpkin chunking contest.
“It’s called pumpkin ‘chunking,’ not pumpkin ‘chucking,’ perhaps because the catapults turn perfectly good pumpkins into large chunks,” Steddom said.
In the educational category there will be several presentations, including:
– Pumpkin fungicide trials, Steddom.
– Watermelon and tomato variety trials, Masabni.
– Epigenetics beef cattle research, Brittani Littlejohn, doctoral candidate at the Texas A&M AgriLife and Research Center at Overton.
– Information on protecting pollinators, Steddom and a representative of the East Texas Beekeepers Association.
The pumpkin chunking contest consists of entries from local high schools and Kilgore College student groups. They use all-mechanical devices that have been built by the students to toss 7 to 15 pound pumpkins, Steddom said. They will be competing for prizes for both distance and creativity.
“No devices using explosives, engines, motors or compressed gasses of any kind are allowed,” he said.
Prizes of $500, $300 and $200 will be awarded to those whose machines chunk the pumpkins the farthest. There will also be a $300 prize awarded to the most creative entry.
“Following the chunking contest, we will have some safer devices available for kids to use under supervision,” he said. “Kilgore College students have made a small cannon that can be triggered remotely, and kids get to push the button. The ag students are going to build some kind of slingshot that will be safe for kids to operate. We will have a bunch of extra pumpkins available for the kids that are leftovers from a trial, so there is no charge for the kids’ chunking ammunition.”
Though there is no entrance fee, there will be pumpkins and other produce available for sale. There will be a cost for pumpkins to be used for the painting contest, Steddom said.
For more information about the event and to enter the chunking contest, contact Steddom at 903-983-8656 or firstname.lastname@example.org