Punkin Chunkin cancelled after lawsuit, future uncertain

(File/WHYY)

(File/WHYY)

There will be no flying pumpkin competition in Delaware this year, organizers have canceled the Punkin Chunkin again.

The winning entries in Punkin Chunkin send squash flying nearly a mile using everything from catapults to cannons powered by compressed air. Last year, an air cannon exploded during southern Delaware’s unique pumpkin contest. That explosion critically injured Suzanne Dakessian who has filed a federal lawsuit against event organizers and participants, state officials and the parent company of cable TV’s Discovery Channel.

In a statement posted on their facebook page, organizers say because of the pending lawsuit, the landowner who hosted last year’s event is reluctant to provide space for the event this year. 

“With less than 74 days until our event, we are left with no options. It is with our deepest regrets that we announce that 2017 Punkin Chunkin is canceled and with it, the economic impact that Delaware receives, the funds that we generate to help fund other non-profits and the scholarships for deserving youth. Refunds will be issued within the week.” 

This year’s cancellation is the latest problem for the event which was also canceled in 2014 after a lawsuit from an injured volunteer. Organizers have also struggled to find landowners willing to host the event.

It’s not clear whether the last pumpkins have been launched in Delaware. The Science Channel withdrew as the event’s main sponsor after last year’s accident, leaving a big hole in funding.

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