October 17, 2011
McGraw pumpkin launch sends ’em flying
3 competitors' homemade catapults highlight village’s 2nd annual fall festival
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Gary Preston’s shirt says it all as he waits next to his pumpkin catapult with Scott Reynolds Saturday at Recreation Park in McGraw. They won 1st place in the annual pumpkin launch with a launch of 151 feet.
McGRAW — Gary Preston’s shirt read “You can have your Pumpkin Pie, I prefer my Pumpkins fly!”
His sure did — his farthest flew 151 feet in Saturday’s second annual McGraw Harvest Festival and pumpkin launch.
Out of three competing homemade catapults that were launching five to 10 pumpkins, Preston’s won for farthest distance, in the competition held at Recreation Park.
“Luck’s gotta be with you, apparently,” Preston said after launching several times. “I’m just in it for the show.”
Organizers said they hope this is not the last pumpkin launch event.
Carol Preston said she and the three other people who organize the festival hope to make it grow, with more activities and more vendors.
“Everyone comes to see the pumpkins fly,” Preston said. “We’ve had two or three people tell us that next year they plan on building launchers and one plans to build a slingshot.”
Other launchers Saturday scored varying distances, placing second with 122 feet and third at 112 feet.
One pumpkin launcher, built by four McGraw residents, managed to score negative points by somehow sending a pumpkin flying backward into the woods.
One man, who declined to give his name, jokingly said afterward that his catapult was apparently made of Legos.
The McGraw Planning Board created the festival last year because the village does not have any sort of festival to call its own.
Carol Preston, a board member, had heard about other communities having pumpkin launches.
The first festival had two pumpkin launchers and organizers this year said they were glad to have another.
The third pumpkin launcher was built by local Cub Scout Pack 91.
This year’s Harvest Festival also featured a pumpkin decorating contest, food and games.
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