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A pumpkin throw-down

October 08, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

Smashing pumpkins is fun, but it isn't always legal.

On Saturday, Tri-State Fellowship is offering people a chance to smash some pumpkins in a cool, legal fashion with its first Great Pumpkin Siege Festival. And make new friends while doing so.

"We're all for having fun, but we're not just for having fun for fun's sake," said Paul Ostoich, event organizer and family ministries pastor for Tri-State. "Our real goal is to introduce people to us, a fellowship of believers, and give our people a chance to mix with community members they might not otherwise (meet)."

The event on the church grounds northwest of Hagerstown includes a catapult contest. Teams that have built their own catapults will compete to see which can throw a pumpkin the furthest, which can hit the most targets, and which is the crowd favorite.

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Ostoich and his son, Jed, have built their own catapult, a device called a trebuchet (treb-yoo-SHAY) with a long throwing arm.

Participants don't have to build a trebuchet to launch a pumpkin. For $5, visitors can take a shot at firing the trebuchet built by the Ostoichs.

Visitors also are encouraged to bring a homemade cardboard target for the trebuchets and compete for awards -- crowd favorite and last-target standing.

Paul Ostoich is expecting at least three trebuchets Saturday, and one man is bringing plastic barrels for targets. Teams will have the morning to tweak their trebuchets and practice, the contest will begin at 1 p.m.

The Ostoichs' trebuchet, at about 30-feet tall with a sturdy oak arm, can fire a pumpkin hundreds of feet, according to Jed Ostoich. After building a small model trebuchet for a high school project, Ostoich has been longing to build a large one.

The festival was inspired by the annual Punkin Chunkin in Delaware, at which trebuchets and air cannons compete in launching pumpkins.

The Great Pumpkin Siege Festival also will have a car, truck and motorcycle show; pumpkin-related games and events, food, music, a demonstration by the Society for Creative Anachronism, and a corn maze.

Admission to the festival is free. There is a fee for some games and for the corn maze.

Proceeds will be used to send fellowship youths to the Evangelical Free Youth Conference in Ohio next summer, Paul Ostoich said.

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