Catapulting pumpkins draws a crowd in Stowe

Published: Sep. 25, 2022 at 7:27 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2022 at 9:35 PM EDT
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STOWE, Vt. (WCAX) - It’s back! The Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival celebrated its 13th year over the weekend.

“That was crazy. I think that one has a pretty good chance of winning and it explodes. The field is going to be covered in pumpkin guts,” said Maxwell Casey from Shelburne.

The event this year featured a chili cook-off and lots of food vendors. It was their first time adding volleyball to the mix and, of course, the trebuchets, another word for catapults. Organizers say it is a huge event that brings all kinds of people to Vermont from all over.

“They toss watermelons and stuff there out in Louisiana. But I have never heard of pumpkin tossing. Yeah, it’s so exciting,” said Pit Cook from Louisiana.

“Nothing says fall like pumpkin chucking, so here we are,” said Les Stripe from Sacramento, California:

Many contestants in the competition have done this a couple of times and say they keep coming back for more because it’s always so much fun. Each person is required to build their own catapult. This was Tyler Barnard’s fourth year competing in the chucking. He said his favorite part about the event is the exploding pumpkins. It took him a good amount of time to build his trebuchet.

“Just a little bit after work here and there. Few weeks to get it right. I’ve been at it for over a week now just fine-tuning a lot of things,” explained Barnard.

There were three different competitions for the day.

Nick Helms had the largest catapult. He’s been doing the pumpkin chucking for several years. He has tried three different styles of trebuchets all with the same frame. This is something he is very excited about.

“I really like the mechanical engineering and hands-on stuff, so it’s just something I am really passionate about. something about launching pumpkins is really fun,” said Helms.

Up to 1,000 people come to this event every year, and more than 20 people have registered for the event before. Organizers say they never know how many people are going to be there for the catapult. Sometimes people just show up.

“We’re all launching pumpkins, we’re all designing and building. It’s kind of like a team effort almost,” explained Helms.

The money raised from the event is all donated to the Clarina Howard Nicholas Center which helps survivors of domestic and sexual violence.