Punkin' Chuckin' Contest
Wildlife Prairie State Park
Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences
There's something inherently hilarious about watching grown
people (men, mostly) shoot pumpkins out of cannons. But that's what
they do at the annual Punkin' Chuckin' Contest outside Peoria in
Morton, scheduled this year for Oct. 16-17.
The cannon, the Aludium Q36 Pumpkin Modulator, is just one of
the contraptions that will be tossing pumpkins. There also will be
plenty of catapults and trebuchets (catapults use springs to
increase the thrust while trebuchets use only counterweights).
After each official chuck, spotters on ATVs zoom across the field
to mark the distance and determine whether any chucker breaks the
elusive one-mile barrier.
Organizers also host a pumpkin hand toss contest and set up a
car in the field that gets pumpkinated by the Q36.
The event is free, but parking is $5 per car and there are a
host of pumpkin delicacies to buy-ice cream, pie, chili (which was
surprisingly good), pumpkin souvenirs and more. We spent about $30
the entire day. Bring lawn chairs, coats, hats and mittens. The
wind really whips across the harvested farmland.
Make a weekend of Punkin' Chuckin' and spend the night in a
converted caboose, silo or stable at the nearby Wildlife Prairie
State Park in Hanna City. Prices for two people range from $80 per
night for the caboose to $125 per night for a cabin by the lake on
weekends. Each additional person age 4 and up is $10 per night.
Room rental includes parking, two days in the park, fishing and
In late October, the park becomes the "Wildlife Scary Park."
Scheduled for Oct. 22-24 and 29-31 this year, it includes a ride on
the mini-railroad through the park.
If you make it into Peoria, stop at the Smithsonian-affiliated
Lakeview Museum of Arts & Sciences. It has an impressive array
of exhibits at downstate-affordable prices.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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