Sunday, October 22, 2017

Punkin Chunkin at Lake Howard (Bald Eagle State Park)

 In Howard Pa, the fire company shoots pumpkins from canons, and launches them from trebuchets (a type of catapult that uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile) at targets in the lake.  And there are food trucks, craft vendors, hay rides, and fun announcers, all set up around a beautiful lake in the mountains,  making this pretty much the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon.

Quick Info
  • Parking & Admission are free!
  • The Punkin Chunkin Festival Facebook Page
  • The event is held at Lake Howard, Bald Eagle State Park, Howard, Pennsylvania 16841
  • Hours are 10-5.  It can get VERY busy around lunch time, with cars waiting in line to get in for long periods of time (some years, more than an hour).  We went in the afternoon and parked within a few minutes time.

This is just about half of the festival.  Shown is the west side of the lake.  Pumpkins launched from both the east and west sides, the festival stands stretched the entire way between the two launch sites.

2017  was our first time attending this event, and I was truly blown away by how huge it is!  There were stands two rows deep in a horseshoe shape around the lake. From the event description - "Attractions include craft vendors, food vendors, hay rides, pie eating contest, mini punkin chunkers for the public to launch and of course, large PUNKIN' CHUNKIN' trebuchets and cannons taking aim at floating targets in the lake! Admission and Parking are free! Donations are welcome. All proceeds benefit the Howard Volunteer Fire Company."

Pieces Of Smashed Pumpkins Floating On The Lake

The beach area, which is full of picnic tables, was full of people just sitting at picnic tables, or on blankets, chatting and watching pumpkins be launched into the water.  It's really pretty low key, considering the size.  It wasn't overly noisy, nor was it TOO crowded (at 3:30 when we arrived).  We loved the announcers, who were announcing the sponsored pumpkins while we were there.  They could have their own morning radio show, they were truly quite entertaining.
Often you couldn't see the pumpkins very well as they launch, that's just the way it is.  You could usually see them as they splashed into the water, and my favorite was when the air cannon shot them out and they skipped across the lake.  So honestly, yes, it's a really, really large event for something that shouldn't really be all that exciting (pumpkins splashing into the lake).  But I loved it.  And from the size of the crowd, I'm not alone in that.  

Description from their event page:
Every year towards the end of October the Howard Fire Company holds a one day festival at the scenic Bald Eagle State Park in Howard, PA. The main attractions of the festival are the catapults, trebuchets, and (possibly) air cannons that launch pumpkins hundreds of feet through the air and send them splashing down into the nearby lake. Hence why we call it Punkin’ Chunkin". 

The one day festival hosts a number of other attractions such as:
-Nearly 100 Local Craft Vendors
-Local Food Vendors
-Smaller Trebuchets for the Public to Shoot
-Children’s Games and Activities.
-Emergency Vehicles
-Pumpkin Pie Eating Contest
-Farmer’s Market

However the best part about the festival is that it is absolutely FREE to attend! There are absolutely no parking or admissions costs to come to the festival.

Any money donated during the festival will go towards supporting the
Howard Fire Company #14 and future Punkin' Chunkin' Fall Festivals.


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