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Punkin Chunkin could be leaving Delaware for Ocean City, MD

James Dawson/Delaware Public Media
Punkin Chunkin’s effort to make a comeback could take it out of the First State. ";

Punkin’ Chunkin is a step closer to leaving Delaware behind.


Punkin Chunkin could be on its way to Maryland, according to the event’s president Frank Payton.



“We have been approached by a promoter in Ocean City that has put on many different events in that town - has approached us with interest in bringing the World Punkin Chunkin Championship to Ocean City,” said Payton.

Ocean City officials have given an initial thumbs up to launching pumpkins into the Atlantic Ocean this November. The mayor and Council there voted unanimously (6-0) last week to move ahead with plans to bring Punkin Chunkin to the city’s Inlet Parking Lot November 1-3, 2019.

Punkin Chunkin officials announced in February they intended to bring the popular event back this year after a two-year hiatus.

Payton says they’ve been looking for 600-acres of land in Delaware to hold this year’s competition, but inquiries from a few farmers in Sussex County did not pan out.

He says he appreciates Ocean City stepping up to offer an option.


“Where we would love to traditionally be able to continue our tradition on an open field - on farmland - but as farmland becomes sparse and with the recent liability issues and everything like that, we’re very thankful in the fact that people recognize this event and its value to the community,” Payton said.

Payton says Ocean City’s approval is contingent on securing insurance and Coast Guard assistance since the gourds would be flung out into the ocean.


The popular gourd launching event has been on hiatus since a misfire during the 2016 edition in Bridgeville seriously injured a woman.


Payton says there was also interest from Berlin, Maryland, but it also did not have the minimum 600 acres needed.  He says they’ve also been contacted by landowners in Illinois, Colorado and New Jersey.


Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.
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