This year’s Pumpkin Chunking promises to be the best yet. The rural New Mexico Town of Estancia and the folks in the surrounding areas really know how to host a good time for folks of all ages with this annual Punkin Chunkin’, (this is the proper way to spell/say it), and this year it’s their 17th Annual Punkin Chunkin’.
So, what exactly IS punkin chunkin’? You would think this could be an American “home grown” event, but no – only the pumpkins are grown in America. This event began in Belgium in 1986, where they still hold the European Championship Event. The world record is held by a pneumatic cannon that shot a pumpkin over a mile, 5,545.43 feet in Moab Utah in 2010. You should come watch it here in New Mexico…maybe we’ll see a new record in Estancia this year.
Punkin Chunkin’ is best described as hurling festive orange gourds as far as possible by mechanical means, using various specialized homemade devises – trebuchets, giant slingshots, centrifugals, and the exciting supercharged pneumatic cannons. What a hoot to watch! Each type of machine competes in their own category for distance and also accuracy. Special types of thick skinned pumpkins are used and they’re all close to the same size and weight. The pumpkin must leave the machine intact, and if that isn’t the case…they call it “pie” for obvious reasons (pumpkin pie, pie in the sky!). The winners can compete in the World Championship Punkin Chunkin’ held every year in Delaware, sponsored by the Discovery Channel among others. You can watch it on the Discovery and Science Channels on Thanksgiving, November 24th.
When: October 20, 2012, 8am to 5pm
Where: 1.5 miles west of Estancia on Hwy 55 (link for map below)
8:00am: Gates open at the Punkin Chunkin’ Field.
Go to watch the contestants set up their pumpkin slinging machines.
10:30am: Parade down main street in Estancia
1:00pm: Official Launch Time
3:00pm: Exhibition Launching
4:00pm: Final Competition Launches
Parking & Admission is $10 per car or $5 per person. Car load maximum is 6 people. Each admission ticket is submitted to the many raffles held throughout the day, but for all of them you must be present to win. I hear the prizes are great.
There is more going on all day at the Punkin Chunkin’ field as well as in the Town of Estancia. There will be carnival rides for the kids, the obligatory festival arts and crafts booths chock full of great, “country and homemade” stuff from the surrounding area, pumpkins and other seasonal stuff for sale and plenty of food for all! Check the official Estancia website for all the events and times throughout the Punkin Chunkin’ Day.
If you’re traveling in for this great event – let it be known that there is no lodging in Estancia. The closest town for lodging is Moriarity, NM, 18 miles north of Estancia and right on Interstate 40. You may also find a room with us at our Albuquerque Inn, Adobe Nido Bed and Breakfast. The easy 57 mile ride to Estancia from our bed and breakfast in Albuquerque is mostly a cruise through the beautiful rural New Mexico countryside.
Click here for a link to a map with direction to get to Estancia for the Punkin Chunkin’. Proceeds go to The Estancia Rotary Club Scholarship Program – a very noble charity.
Plan now and mark your calendars…New Mexico’s Punkin Chunkin’ Day – it’s a “blast”!
I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!