10 Strange American Traditions


Punkin Chunkin

Punkin Chunkin 2008: Mashup
Science Channel

Each year, as corn stalks tower toward the sky and leaves turn yellow, orange and red, folks in the United States often flock to farms in order to attend fall festivals. Most of the goings on at these festivals are pretty tame if a little odd-sounding from an outside perspective. Families often participate in activities like going on hayrides, picking out pumpkins, walking through corn mazes, sampling cider, petting barnyard animals, that sort of thing.

But what really singles out some of these fall celebrations is the desire harbored by the visitors to witness pumpkins -- harmless lumpy gourds -- blasted into the air and launched great distances across acres of sprawling farmland. There are several ways this can be accomplished to satisfy a crowd, whether it's through the use of air cannons, catapults, trebuchets or machines using torsion and centrifugal force. Pretty much the only one who doesn't end up having a good time is the pumpkin.

For our next couple of strange tradition, we'll continue through the season.