Punkin Chunkin organizers say the event will return next year, minus its TV partner.
Not back is the Science Channel. A producer for the cable channel televising the event was seriously injured after an equipment malfunction in November 2016 at one of the high-powered cannons that toss pumpkins for long distances.
Punkin Chunkin returned last year after a hiatus caused by concerns over insurance coverage.
It had been feared the accident might spell the end of the event that has pumped millions of dollars into the Sussex County economy.
Organizers issued a press release confirming that the Science Channel will not return and leave Punkin Chunkin without a major source of funding.
“We will be moving forward this year. There is too much at stake to give up now. We have the commitment from the farmer for the use of their land for 2017,” the release stated. “If you are a network that is looking for a highly rated topic for a television show, we want to talk to you. If you are a company that would like to take the full advantage of our advertising capability and the attention that we receive, we want to talk to you. If you are an individual that wants us to continue on, we want to hear from you. If you wish to see the Chunk continue, we need your support now more than ever.”
Listed as the donation page is www.punkinchunkin.com/weneedhope.
The release noted that the event has raised $1 million over three decades for youth causes.
The 2016 Punkin Chunkin was more regulated than in the past with controls over alcohol and other areas.
Organizers said other news on Punkin Chunkin will be forthcoming.
Before the 2016 event, there were attempts to move Punkin Chunkin to the Dover Downs area. However, the events were canceled.
There was also attempts at legislation aimed at reducing liability insurance costs for Punkin Chunkin.
However, trial lawyers opposed the measure, which died in a General Assembly where that group holds influence.
Trial lawyers said they opposed the legislation because it failed to protect those attending the event and not because it would prevent potentially lucrative litigation.