This fall fest in Union Grove also features The Best of the Midwest BBQ Cookoff.

Now in its third year, the Union Grove Great Pumpkin Chuckin’ Fest (Oct. 22, free admission) has more on its plate than flying produce. Held at the Racine County Fairgrounds, the squash toss happens simultaneously with the Best of the Midwest BBQ Cook-Off that features more than 40 Midwestern entries, says Jennifer Ditscheit, Greater Union Grove Area Chamber of Commerce executive director. As for chuckin’, teams of students and “backyard engineers” will compete in a distance competition to see who can hurl their gourd furthest with catapults, trebuchets and slingshots.

A Good Yield
Union Grove’s population of about 5,000 more than doubled last year when 10,000 people attended. More than 20,000 are expected this year.

From the Ground Up
Two divisions in the competition will include students testing their STEM skills with launchers built from scratch.

Soaring Gourds
In 2015, 150 pumpkins entered orbit, courtesy of Maurice Farms.

Team Trinity Lutheran Church’s prayers were answered when it won gold in 2015 and set the record for airborne squash of 476 feet.

That mark is still dwarfed by team American Chunker Inc.’s world record of 4,695 feet, set at the 2013 Punkin Chunkin World Championships in Bridgeville, Del. (Starting at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, that squash could’ve spilled its seeds against the U.S. Bank Center.)


‘What the Chuck?’ appears in the October issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning October 3, or buy a copy at

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