The Flying Pumpkins of Fullerton

Cal State engineering students will gather to send gourds soaring.

Pumpkin Launch

Pity the poor pumpkin. It either takes the heat for being a no-show in a famous October television special -- well, the Great Pumpkin does, at least -- or it gets carved up or gnawed upon by zoo animals. And then, when it reemerges near Thanksgiving? It only need serve as an entrance decoration.

But sometimes a band of brave souls will step outside of the Halloween and Thanksgiving loops and give the gourd its day in the sun. Quite literally, too, since we're talking about slingshoting giant, seed-filled orbs into the bright, sunshiny sky. (Slingshoting and employing handmade trebuchets; in other words, this is serious stuff.)

Some refer to such an event as a Punkin Chuckin' while some call it a Pumpkin Launch, which is the name Cal State Fullerton engineering students use at their annual orb-happy hullaballoo. The launch is set to roll -- and fly -- on Saturday, Nov. 10 at the CSUF Athletic Fields.

Thousands of onlookers are expected. And the student teams? They hail from the colleges of Computer Science, Engineering, Natural Sciences, and Mathematics. In other words, bet some intricate calculations and theorems have been made on how far a 12-pounder can sail when X amount of force is used and the wind speed is Y.

We don't tease; if you don't hear the words "trajectory" and "speed" at the fields, you're not listening close enough.

There will also be food trucks near the fields, and science-fun activities for kids. We imagine that they, too, may one day be launching pumpkins of their own, as bright-minded university scholars.

It's free to attend, but registration is requestion.

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