Punkin Chunkin still on the table for town of Ocean City

 

OCEAN CITY, Md. – Punkin Chunkin could be coming to Ocean City, with officials eyeing the inlet as a place to launch pumpkins out into the ocean. It’s all in an effort to keep the Sussex county tradition alive on Delmarva. But there’s a lot to work through first.

“We have had preliminary discussions. I think there were a lot of questions that were asked. I think there’s a lot of things that still need to be discussed,” says Rick Meehan, Mayor of Ocean City.

On Tuesday, Ocean City’s Town Council voted to move forward with the concept of hosting Punkin Chunkin this year. It’s a tradition that’s not without controversy, after several incidents over the years where people were hurt. So a top priority for organizers this go around is making sure it’s a safe event.

“The big hurdle is liability, understanding what the town is going to seek and making sure that we are covered on our part,” says Frank Payton, President the World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA).

Ocean City’s Mayor, Rick Meehan says if the town hosts Punkin Chunkin he would try to create a more controlled environment that’s welcoming to families.

“People are talking about how it can be a really rowdy group, I guess. You get a lot of people together. But there is a lot of control with an event in Ocean City. It would be completely different,” says Meehan.

Supporters say Ocean City is a prime location for Punkin Chunkin because it has plenty of public transportation, hotels and restaurants.

“It would bring lots of money. And that’s a tourist area so you need it. And it extends the season a little bit,” says Budd Baker, a Salisbury Resident.

While exact plans for Punkin Chunkin coming to Ocean City are still up in the air, one thing officials can agree on is they will do everything they can to make it happen.

“I think that time is of the essence. And you know we may run into something at some point. Approvals might take longer. Maybe it wouldn’t be possible to do in 2019. But if there’s a way to do it and all the pieces fit together I think the council would find a way to do it,” says Meehan.

“As crazy as Punkin Chunkin always is I’m sure pumpkins will fly somewhere, even if we have to wait until the last minute,” says Payton.

If plans for Punkin Chunkin come through for the town, the event would take place in early November. Payton also says WCPCA is keeping its options open by considering venues in Illinois, Colorado and New Jersey.

As for potential impacts on the environment, officials point out that pumpkins are biodegradable. But they have not yet looked into the specifics of whether they might harm the ocean or wildlife.

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