Pumpkins ready for blast off in Sussex

The forecast in Sussex County this weekend: sunny with a chance of pumpkins.

Make that 100 percent chance of pumpkins.

It will be raining orange and white gourds all weekend as the beloved World Championship Punkin Chunkin returns to Delaware. This year’s event, the 25th anniversary, will take place off Route 404 near Bridgeville, Friday through Sunday.

What began a quarter-century ago with a group of four men and three machines has grown into a “monster,” according to Frank Shade, director of media and promotions and former president.

“It’s an event where people build various and assorted contraptions with the sole purpose of throwing an 8- to 10-pound pumpkin as far as they can,” he said.

The longest throw 25 years ago was 114 feet. The record is now more than 4,400 feet.

“We have machines right now, their barrels alone are 130 feet,” Shade said.

According to Shade, 115 teams from around the world will compete each day in a variety of categories, including air cannons, catapults and human-powered devices.

In addition to flying orbs, a wide range of entertainment is planned for each day. There will be live bands, a beauty pageant, fireworks Saturday and Sunday, and more than 150 vendors.

Take a look at last year’s event.

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