Just be ready to sit in line for a while.
Still, the 90+ minutes sitting in the car waiting to get in the gate were well worth it. The pressure builds exponentially the closer you get to the firing line. You're still sitting in line the first time you hear the "WHOOOSH!" when one of the big air cannon sends its punkin' into the wild blue yonder.
Kinda like this, when Young Glory took the final air cannon shot on Saturday which went 3,718.51 feet (in case you're interested).
Or this shot by Chunk-n-ology which traveled 3,442.33 feet.
You know how people have their favorite wrestlers from WWE? Well, if I had to choose a favorite air cannon, it'd be this one -
[Note: I checked the results and guess what? The Big 10 Inch won the Chunk with a shot of 4,162.65 feet. It's always nice rooting for a winner.]
Anyway, I wish I had more pictures of the cannons firing, but remember what I said about the line to get in? We missed most of the firing by that division. I'm particularly annoyed because I was never able to get a picture of the punkin' coming out of the barrel. Trust me, it's not impossible (especially at six frames a second), and I say this as someone who once got a picture of the shell coming out of the barrel of a real cannon.
Moving on, thankfully the cannon weren't the only game in town. There were also the siege machines of old. This, my friends, is a trebuchet called the Yankee Siege, which holds the current trebuchet (I really love that word) punkin' chunkin' world record of 2,034.21 feet. It's also available for party rentals.
Here it is in action setting the above record of 2,034.21 feet. In case you don't know how a trebuchet works, here it is in a pie shell: The big weight on the right of the fulcrum is released.
As it falls it pulls the arm on the left up accelerating the attached sling, which contains the punkin' (or cow for those of you who are Monty Python fans).
At the top of the swing, the punkin' (or cow) is ready to be released back into the wild...at least for as long as it takes it to fly 2,000+ feet.
If you look real carefully at the top right corner of the picture below, you'll see the punkin' in flight.
And that is how a trebuchet works. But, what was that? You ask why would grown men build these machines and launch perfectly good gourds into the atmosphere? Why did Hillary climb Everest? Why did Orville and Wilbur head to the OBX? Because this is America and they could (all except for that mountain thing, that guy was British).
You need another, better reason, you say? OK, how about this -
A trophy so big it comes with it's own trailer and forklift skid. According to the Science Channel, the trophy weighs around 300 pounds and requires a major home renovation, since you have to reinforce your mantel so you can stick it up there.
Of course, like any festival/fair/concert, there are drawbacks...but I respect the woman's ingenuity of drinking in the line for the porta-shitter.
All in all, the Punkin' Chunkin' is nothing but good family fun, especially if you have an elevated seat on Dad's shoulders and can see over the crowd.
The gunline as the sun settles in the Western sky. Sleep well, chunkers...dawn comes early.