The annual event, that combines catapults and pumpkins, and has quickly become an art form in upstate New York, is being canceled.

Every fall, Chunkin enthusiasts gather in Clayton, New York for the annual 'Punkin Chunkin Contest,' where groups bring homemade contraptions to see who can launch a pumpkin the farthest into the St. Lawrence River. This year, the Punkin Chunkin is one of three annual events being canceled due to COVID-19.

The Clayton Chamber of Commerce decided to cancel the Vintage & Classic Street Meet, scheduled for September 19, Clayton Celebrates - Citizen of the Year Banquet on October, and the Punkin Chunkin, October 17.

"After careful consideration, and in light of New York State’s mass gathering order only allowing for 50 or fewer people to attend mass gatherings/events in a Phase Four region, the Board of Directors has voted to cancel these events for 2020," the Clayton Chamber of Commerce said in a statement. "The priority is the health and safety of the community, including our staff, spectators, vendors and volunteers."

Punkin Chunkin and the Vintage & Classic Street Meet bring thousands of people to upstate New York, making it impossible to social distance and follow New York State guidelines. The Clayton Celebrates - Citizen of the Year is a smaller event, however, with restaurant restrictions in place, the Chamber didn't want to limit or take away the proper celebration the Citizen of the Year deserves.

To some people, it may seem the decision to cancel was made too early. Please keep in mind these events take months of planning, rely on heavily on sponsorships from local businesses that are already struggling, and require a larger number of volunteers who may not feel comfortable in a large crowd.

This year we'll just have to enjoy Punkin Chunkin from the past.

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