Punkins will Fly in Sussex County Skies Once Again
The World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition is destined to stay in Sussex County in 2016, held on November 4th, 5th & 6th. Frank Payton, WCPCA board president, confirmed that an arrangement with the Wheatley’s has been worked out for the event to return to where it was last successfully held in 2013.
After an exhaustive five month long search for land, the association should be able to breathe a little easier. “There is a certain level of relief that we are returning to where we have been successfully able to hold the event but we still have a lot ahead of us”, said Frank Payton, referring to the cost to put on the event. An insurance policy required to protect the landowner will cost the association nearly three times what they previously paid. Costs to host the event have increased over the years and after not having the event for two years, the association will now start focusing on the budget.
“People need to realize that we are a non-profit and all the money we make at our annual event is given back,” said Payton. Since 2000, over one million dollars has been donated to charities and scholarships for kids seeking degrees, mainly in the agricultural and engineering related fields of study. With the continued support and assistance of Senator Brian Pettyjohn, some members of the WCPCA board met with Governor Markell and the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO) to discuss what assistance can be offered to this Delaware tradition that started in 1986. “All options are being reviewed to make sure to get this event back on track and to ensure its future,” said Senator Pettyjohn. The event attracted about 30,000 spectators in 2013. “Fans stayed in Delaware’s hotels, ate at our restaurants, filled up their vehicles at our gas stations and purchased products or services from Delaware businesses,” commented Senator Pettyjohn.