Thursday, August 23, 2018

10th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival Press Release


Contact Person: Dave Jordan
Charity Name: Clarina Howard Nichols Center, Morrisville, Vermont
Phone: 603-630-4800

10th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ Festival

Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa to Host 2018 Festival

Proceeds of September 30th event to benefit Clarina Howard Nichols Center

Stowe, Vermont, Aug. 19, 2018 – This year marks 10 years of the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin’ (VTPC) Festival. This festival celebrates the sport of “chuckin’” pumpkins, for distance, using a do-it-yourself constructed trebuchet or gravity-powered catapult. Festival founder, Dave Jordan, describes the event as a cross between a Soap Box Derby (amateur building/engineering) and a shot put contest (throwing for distance). The event is a great opportunity for kids and adults of all ages to build something with their hands and engage in some family friendly competition. Records have been broken almost every year; the current record is 689 feet! Cash, prizes, trophies and bragging rights are awarded to 3 best teams in each of 4 divisions as well as the 3 best chilis and 3 best cornhole teams.

The VTPC Festival is one-day event and has grown every year. This event is sponsored by the Stoweflake Resort and Spa and many other local sponsors. The event benefits the Clarina Howard Nichols Center. Founded in 1981, the Center works to end domestic and sexual violence in Lamoille County.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 30th, 2018. The Festival runs from 11am to 4pm and features three rounds of competitive pumpkin chuckin’ at 12:30pm, 1:30pm and 2:30pm with awards shortly after the last round. No dogs or outside food or beverage are allowed at the event. Food, beer and wine will be sold by Stoweflake.

Along with the pumpkin chuckin’ contest there will be music, a chili cook-off, cornhole tournament and kids activities; all creating an enjoyable fall day. Music for this year's festival will be provided by two bands; House Dunn and John Smyth. No preregistration is required for the trebuchet contest, chili cookoff or cornhole tournament. Plenty of time to build a fine trebuchet, prepare your chili or practice your cornhole skills.

It costs $10 to enter the festival whether you are a spectator or trebuchet competitor; an extra $10/person to enter the cornhole tournament; the chili cookoff is totally free, but you must make 2 gallons of your finest chili. Parking is free.

INFO: Specifications, rules, and entry information can be found on the festival's website at or contact the festival organizer Dave Jordan, 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Building a better trebuchet / Cornhole Anyone?

So we are now only 41 days away from this year's 10th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival on Sunday, September 30, 2018, at Stoweflake Mountain Resort, Stowe, Vermont.

New truss throwing arm for Boomer Trebuchet
New truss-based throwing arm for Boomer Trebuchet
One of the key engineering decisions regarding building a trebuchet for the Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' competition is now much weigh to allocate to the throwing arm, versus the counter-weight.

If you over engineer your arm, and give it too much weight, you will be sacrificing weight that could be used on the counter-weight to give you more force in the thrown. Throw force is proportional to the weight of the counter-weight and the distance that it is dropping.

Here above is a picture from Dave Jordan's newly designed heavyweight trebuchet throwing arm (heavyweights have a maximum weight limit of 500 lbs). Dave is cutting down the weight of the throwing arm by building it more like a truss bridge. A truss bridge is a bridge whose load-bearing superstructure is composed of a truss, a structure of connected elements forming triangular units. The connected elements (typically straight) may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads.

By building a truss trebuchet arm, the goal is to make the arm as light as possible without failing. Dave is running tests to see at what force the arm fails, he then adds back just a little more strength to his truss arm so that it won't fail under his projected throw force.

Understanding the math behind bearing loads on a truss structure is a core skill for any engineering student.

Example of engineering truss force diagram for a bridge
Cornhole Anyone?

This year along with the Pumpkin Chuckin', Chili Cook-off contest, live music, food, etc.we are also planning on having a doubles Cornhole Tournament. We like the idea of adding another form of throwing organic farm produce through the air to our festival. More info will be provide shortly about the tournament. We are in the process of getting a tournament director on board.

Cornhole: throwing farm produce for pleasure
Cornhole: throwing farm produce for pleasure
One of the fun things will be coming up with a good name for your doubles cornhole team. Some of our favorites: Men of the Husk, Boss of the Toss, or Driving Miss Maizey.

All proceeds from the 10th Annual Vermont Pumpkin Chuckin' Festival will go to benefit the non-profit Clarina Howard Nichols Center.

Clarina Howard Nichols Center
Founded in 1981, the Clarina Howard Nichols Center works to end domestic and sexual violence in Lamoille County. Clarina provides advocacy programs, emergency shelter, support and direct services to survivors of domestic and sexual violence as well as community outreach programs to affect social change.

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