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Punkin Chunkin Canceled for 2014


Punkin Chunkin had been set to take place Oct. 24-26 at Dover International Speedway. Organizers announced Friday they’ll instead start the event in its new Dover location in 2015.

“Moving an event the size of Punkin Chunkin is not easy even when time is not a factor,” said John Huber, World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association president.

The event’s membership didn’t settle on the Dover location until early July, and ticket sales started in early September. More than 20,000 people attended the 2013 event, spread out over several days.

Huber said the pumpkin-launching competition will instead return on Nov. 6-8, 2015, in Dover. Customers who had already bought tickets and camping passes this year will see refunds on their credit cards within two weeks, he said.

Gary Camp, a spokesman for Dover International Speedway, said the postponement was due to several things, including permits, site layout, public safety and emergency service planning.

“All along we were cautiously optimistic that the event would go on as scheduled,” Camp said. “Ultimately, the logistics of trying to coordinate such a large established event in such a short time frame at a new venue became too difficult to overcome.”

Both parties are committed to hosting the event in Dover, Camp added.

Advance tickets sold will be refunded.

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Win 2014 Punkin Chunkin Tailgate Tickets for New Dover International Speedway Location


Contest Ends: 10/13/14

Photo by David S. Holloway/Getty Images)

Photo by David S. Holloway/Getty Images)

The countdown has begun for one of Delaware’s most popular events, the Punkin Chunkin World Championship. Dover International Speedway will be the new host site for the World Championship Punkin Chunkin event.

The World Championship Punkin Chunkin Association (WCPCA) hosts a signature pumpkin-launching event each year, fueling innovative engineering and science-based ideas that draw spectators from all over. They believe that Punkin Chunkin cultivates the odd, challenging, and competitive quest for distance that inspires creativity, ingenuity, teamwork, and passion. It is this very dedication that drives teams to compete using science and engineering skills and brings spectators to the gate.


This year, you and seven friends could be tailgating at the 2014 Punkin Chunkin World Championship. Contest winner will receive one (1) tailgate pass on the fire line and eight (8) tickets for the Saturday, Oct. 25 event.

Contest entry:

What started as a challenge in 1986 has turned into an epic, world-class competition drawing hurlers and mega crowds. For three days, engineers, both serious and home grown, bring their huge contraptions and give it all they’ve got to chunk their 8- to 10-pound pumpkin as far as it can go.

The gates open at 7:30 AM each day. All machines fire at least once a day, starting at 8:00 AM. The order can change from day to day depending on weather (they can’t shoot in foggy conditions), whether they finished all the machines the previous day, etc.

Image Courtesy of Rope, Inc.

Image Courtesy of Rope, Inc.

They have to play it by ear, but usually they start on both ends of the firing line, alternating shots with the adult trebuchets and the Youth mechanical teams – catapults, trebuchets and human power. Once the youth mechanicals are done, they continue firing the adult mechanicals, moving towards the center of the firing line. Once they are done, they then move to the youth air cannons, the adult centrifugals and the adult air cannons. Then, after all that, they usually have a free-for-all period until dusk where the machines may fire as much as they wish.

Cant’ wait? Play online to get in the mood.

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Sand Castle Competition at Rehoboth Beach, DE

Update: As of 10:00 a.m., the Sand Castle Competition was off to a soggy start!



Image Courtesy of Southern Delaware Tourism

Image Courtesy of Southern Delaware Tourism

Most kids and families enjoy building sand castles at some point during their beach vacation. For 2014, the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce (RBDBCC) will be holding the 36th Annual Sandcastle Contest on Saturday, August 2, 2014.

Over 100 teams are expected to meet the challenges and create fantastic sand sculpture. Past entries have included Swamp Animals, Mermaids, Pyramids, Crabs, Dolphins, Sharks and of course traditional sandcastles. Beachgoers are welcome to view the incredible creations free of charge.

SCULPTING DEMONSTRATIONS ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 1st– Sand sculpting artist Darrell O’Connor will be on the beach at Rehoboth Avenue & the Boardwalk, 5 – 7 PM on Friday, August 1st giving sculpting demonstrations & lessons. Learn some skills then put them to the test during the competition on Saturday.

COMMUNITY SCULPTURE – Spectators can join in the fun too. Sand sculpting expert Darrell O’Connor will begin work on a community sculpture at 10 AM. Spectators can assist Darrell with this creation; 2 assistants will be allowed in the sculpting zone on a rotating basis every 15 minutes. The sculpture will be completed by 3 PM.

Fisherman’s Beach at the north end of the Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, near the Henlopen Hotel in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Open to both adults and children.

Business, Adult (15 and older), Children (7-14) & Child (6 and under)

Sculptures may be started at any time on the day of competition, but must be completed for judging by 3:00 PM. Participants may register their entry anytime between 8:30 AM and 2:30 PM. Children under the age of 18 MUST be accompanied by an adult to register. Registered teams will have the opportunity to purchase Event T-shirts at a discounted rate of $5.00 per shirt.

Begins at 3:00 PM; judges are volunteers for the RBDBCC. Winners will be announced at approximately 5:00 PM.

Prizes will be awarded to the top 10 Judge’s Favorites in both the adult and 7-14 child divisions. 1 Judge’s Favorite award will be given in the Business category. Special awards given to all participants in the 6 & under child’s division.

People’s Choice Awards – Two People’s Choice Awards will be given during this year’s contest. The general public can vote on their favorite ADULT and CHILD division creation, by completing an event evaluation. All regular contest rules apply.

The event is WEATHER DEPENDENT. In the event of bad weather, set up and registration may be delayed up until 10:30 AM. If bad weather continues, the event will be postponed until the following year. If bad weather occurs during the contest, participants may continue at will or at the discretion of lifeguards. Judging may be cancelled at any time if warranted by current weather conditions.

36th Annual Sandcastle Contest
Saturday, August 2, 2014
9:00am to 5:00pm
See more at:

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Big Name Entertainers at Delaware State Fair

Image Courtesy of Delaware State Fair

Image Courtesy of Delaware State Fair

Delaware may be the First State, but it’s also one of the smallest in the U.S. That doesn’t stop them from showcasing some of the biggest names in the music industry at the 95th Annual Delaware State Fair, Harrington, DE. As usual, the artist line-up features an eclectic mix of music styles, and fans of all ages are sure to find a performance to suit their taste. Some of the performances are free, others require tickets at various prices.

The line-up includes:

July 20 (Sunday)–Train
Track/Stadium: $59 Grandstand/Clubhouse: $54 6:30 PM DOORS 7:30 PM SHOW

July 21 (Monday)–Del-One Federal Credit Union presents McClain with China Anne McClain
Del-One Federal Credit Union presents McClain with China Anne McClain on Monday, July 21 at 7pm. This will be a FREE SHOW. Doors open at 6pm.

July 22 (Tuesday)–Keith Urban
Track/Stadium: $69 Grandstand/Clubhouse: $64 7:00 PM DOORS 8:00 PM SHOW

July 23 (Wednesday)–Brantley Gilbert
Track/Stadium: $40 Grandstand/Clubhouse: $35 6:30 PM DOORS 7:30 PM SHOW

July 25 (Friday)–Jeremy Camp

The Bridge Track/Stadium: $38 Grandstand/Clubhouse: $33 Pit (limit 400 tickets): $63 6:00 PM DOORS 7:00 PM SHOWS

July 26 (Saturday) – Lady Antebellum

The Bridge Track/Stadium: $64 Grandstand/Clubhouse: $59 6:30 PM DOORS 7:30 PM SHOW

If you have purchased a concert ticket you will need to purchase a separate gate admission ticket to enter the Delaware State Fair.

Image Courtesy of Delaware State Fair

Image Courtesy of Delaware State Fair

For more information or to purchase tickets:

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Winter at the Beach: Part 3

Banff Merman on display at the Indian Trading Post: Wikipedia: InverseHypercube

While the coast of Delaware may have been treacherous, the Zwaanendael Museum celebrates the rich history of Sussex County by highlighting its maritime connections and stories of the people who lived and worked along Delaware’s southeastern coast.

I found the set of jaw molds altered to display the progress of scurvy particularly interesting, but then my sense of humor often devolves to the level of your average 10 year old. Similarly, the museum has one of two “authentic” mermen specimens in the state. This artifact is actually currently relevant.

Now referred to as Fiji mermen the objects are made up of the torso and head of a juvenile monkey sewn to the back half of a fish, covered in papier-mâché. It was a common feature of sideshows, which was presented as the mummified body of a creature that was supposedly half mammal and half fish, a version of traditional mermaid stories.

The exhibit which created the Fiji mermaid concept was popularized by P.T. Barnum, but has since been copied many times in other attractions, including the collection of Robert Ripley. The original exhibit was shown around the United States, but was lost in the 1860s when Barnum’s museum caught fire.

These events took place at around the time people discussed Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On the Origin of Species, as it was reviewed by Thomas Henry Huxley in the April 1860 issue of the Westminster Review. People from all stations of life began to question their place in the natural order. Hoaxes like the Fiji Mermaid were easily played on unsuspecting sea captains and visitors to the islands.

Welcome to the Zwaanendael Museum, a showcase for Lewes-area maritime, military, and social history

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Winter at Beach Part 2: Deep Sea Treasures

Coral encrusted china displayed as art object at Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

Objects recovered from lost ships can be viewed at the Discover Sea Shipwreck Museum, Fenwick Island, Delaware. An every changing display of coins, jewelry, china and ship artifacts, some recovered from the coast of Delaware and the Chesapeake Bay, tell tales of maritime history. You can try your hand looking for loot along Delaware’s Coin Beach, located north of the Indian River Inlet. The best time for beachcombing is after a nor’easter, said director Dale Clifton. If your hunt is unsuccessful you can always purchase recovered coins at the museum. (

Fabulous jewelry recovered from shipwrecks
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

Explorer, diver; shipwreck historian Dale Clifton displays artifact prior to cleaning and identification
© Gail A. Sisolak 2012

This story was first published in the News Journal in 2008, under the byline of Gail A. Sisolak. All copyrights reserved.

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Winter at the Beach: Part 1

Chilly weather drives many tourists away from seaside resorts, making it an ideal time for locals to stroll down historic streets, tour museums, view distinctive architecture, shop in one-of-a-kind boutiques and enjoy cozy restaurants. Many venues have special hours and excursions to welcome those on a weekend getaway.

Indian River Life-Saving Station in Rehoboth Beach
© Gail A. Sisolak

Shipwrecks, Settlements and Treasures

When winter winds churn up the surf, the necessity of the Indian River Life-Saving Station in Rehoboth Beach becomes readily apparent. Visitors can experience the rugged conditions under which the brave men lived and worked. Their creed “You have to go out; you don’t have to come back;” emphasizes the dedication the men had to saving lives. Seasonal hours and special demonstrations. (

“You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back” was the ominous creed of the men who patrolled Delaware beaches.
© Gail A. Sisolak