The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

September 24, 2013

Danville Pumpkin Palooza approaches; pentathlon more family friendly in 2013

By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News

— DANVILLE — It will soon be that time of year for Pumpkin Palooza — a day for eating pumpkin pie, seeing who can spit pumpkin seeds the farthest, bowling with pumpkins, throwing pumpkins, painting pumpkins and more.

The event, in its third year, will be held Oct. 26 in downtown Danville.

Kicking off the day will be Big Wheel races for kids, with ages 6 and younger racing at 9 a.m. and ages 7 to 12 competing at 9:30 a.m. They will race down Mill Street. They can register at danvillepumpkinpalooza.com or on race day starting at 8 a.m.

The pentathlon begins at 10:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required.

There are changes in this year’s pentathlon with everything happening on Mill Street, according to Chris O’Rourke, palooza chairman. “It should be a very audience-friendly race,” he said.

Organizers realized “the race was sort of not hard enough for hardcore racers and too hard for amateurs. We really want this to be a family-friendly event that appeals to the crowd,” said Montour Area Recreation Commission Director Bob Stoudt.

This year, they have done away with the kayak portion of the event and with crossing to Riverside and back. Competitors will ride Big Wheels down Mill Street from the Montour County Courthouse to the railroad tracks. When they come back up the hill, they will face challenges both mentally and physically, he said. “There will be a number of things fun and silly that are doable by everybody and should appeal to the crowd,” Stoudt said.

Stoudt estimated last year’s crowd for palooza events at 750.

He urged pentathlon entrants to pre-register at danvillepumpkinpalooza.com. They can also register the day of the race.

The idea of palooza is to give back to the community, according to O’Rourke, who said they provided a grant last year to the Danville Police Officers Association.

This year, a grant will be announced on palooza day.

Pentathlon awards will be presented at 11:30 a.m.

Pumpkin catapults are also changed this year. Stoudt said they have sent information to about 200 potential teams at local hardware stores, local universities and others. They recently partnered with Susquehanna Valley Pumpkin Challenge. The Danville event is called the Great Pumpkin Launch.

“Our catapult competition has partnered with Buffalo Valley Pumpkin Pitch to be held at Ard’s Farm Market near Lewisburg. We’re trying to get teams to participate in the two events where competitions will be slightly different to keep it interesting. Any team can create a catapult, a trebuchet or similar designs for either of these competitions,” he said.

The Danville catapulting is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Whitenight’s Farm Market in Riverside. Pre-registration is required. Winners of the Danville catapult will receive $150 for first place and a trophy. Second place will be awarded $50 and a trophy. There will also be a trophy for most creative device.

Each registered team will receive one free entry to Brewza Palooza, in its second year.

Other downtown events will include a pumpkin carving demonstration and display, starting at 11 a.m. and a pumpkin pie eating contest at 2 p.m. The event is limited to 20 people willing to eat a pie without using their hands.

Contestants spitting pumpkin seeds starts at 2:30 p.m.

Pumpkin putting events begin at 3 p.m.

All-day events will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They include pumpkin bowling for kids, a dessert display with amateur and professional divisions and judging at noon, a 4-H biggest pumpkin display and contest with judging at 12:15 p.m., pumpkin painting for kids and face painting.

Whitenight’s Pumpkinville will be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be a shuttle bus available from Front Street in Danville to Whitenight’s.

Brewza Palooza will be held later for adults. The event will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 26 in Danville’s ballroom on Mill Street. Brewza Palooza is intended to cap the day-long Pumpkin Palooza festivities in Danville. There will be tasting of seasonal themed beers from regional breweries and food and appetizers from area restaurants. Tickets are $45 each and must be purchased in advance from the link at danvillepumpkinpalooza.com.  Last year’s brewza attracted about 200. “This year we have 300 tickets available,” Stoudt said. Attendees must be 21 or older.

Brewza sponsors are Montour Area Creation Commission, Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau and Henry Voelcker Distributor.