At pumpkin patches throughout America, families are looking for the best jack-o-lantern varieties—green stems and no soft spots, according to Martha Stewart.


But in Clayton, New York, pumpkin lovers use a different criteria. They’re searching for heavy, thick rinds so their pumpkins can withstand being catapulted, hurled or slingshot out into the St. Lawrence River. Prizes and reputation, after all, are at stake.

Autumn in the 1000 Islands is heavenly anyway–fewer crowds, sun-lit cruises to fairytale castles, lighthouses and maritime museums, but when you add in Punkin’ Chunkin’, the annual high-stakes pumpkin launching competition on October 19, what could possibly excuse a tourist’s absence?

Especially now that Delaware’s long-running World Championship Punkin’ Chunkin’ (WCPC) shuttered their competition a couple years ago after logistical problems, a collateral injury and a lawsuit.

In Clayton, these slight inconveniences have been avoided thanks to the 17-point safety guidelines that include, among other things, the wearing of hard hats, the sounding or air horns and rigid test firings of the hand-built catapults and trebuchets the day before.


This quirky event, one of 1000 Island’s premier events, also includes a barbecue competition, a Farmers Market and wood carving.

For more info, click here.


While on the banks of the mighty St. Lawrence, stop in at 1000 Islands Harbor Hotel, an AAA Four Diamond hotel that’s within walking distance of everything in the charming community of Clayton.