Pumpkins decorated and launched into community

Laura Pierson

Staff Writer

Hudson Valley’s 5th annual Pumpkin Palooza Fall Festival featured pumpkin decorating and pumpkin launching contests, as well as games, refreshments, music and a magic show. The event, held Oct. 30, ran all day and into the evening.

This year’s Pumpkin Palooza carving competition showcased student creativity. The pumpkin decorating contest received multiple entrants, including some joint efforts.

The criminal justice program submitted a courtroom scene constructed out of many different sized pumpkins, complete with “Exhibit 1.7,” photographs of the scene of the crime and much pumpkin carnage.

The Center for Counseling and Transfer submitted several pumpkins carved with different characters from Winnie the Pooh to bring attention to the stigma that surrounds mental illness.

They explained in a note taped below their entries, “All of these characters have different mental illnesses. First, there is Piglet who has anxiety. Winnie the Pooh has an addiction to honey. Tigger has ADD. Eeyore has depression.”

The pumpkin launching contest took place on the green outside of the Siek Campus Center. Due to test runs and adjustments of launchers, the actual competition, originally scheduled to run at 11 a.m., didn’t start until after 11:30.

The four teams present were made up primarily of students from Professor Linda Lim’s Introduction to Engineering Design class. Each team was represented by one to four students.

Lim said that the student participants were either in the Engineering Sciences program or thinking about entering the program.

Engineering science major Nick Bosco introduced his team with a smile, saying, “This is Team Excellence.”

Team Excellence entered the contest with a trebuchet which measured about 13 feet with the arm extended, the largest launcher out of the four teams. Bosco said that building the trebuchet took approximately fifteen hours, including testing and research, largely done over the course of two weekends.

Lim said, “Most of the teams used counterweighted trebuchets.” Lim said that the launchers used would focus on the speed and height of the projectile. Along with trebuchets, students used a variety of other launchers including ballistae and catapults.

The students aimed for a small orange bucket set in the middle of a gray tarp 85 feet away. Unfortunately, none of the pumpkins made it into the bucket, although there were several close calls.

Team Excellence along with a nameless team ended up tying for the win.

Bosco said that the event was a good learning experience. “We all learned a little bit,” he added.
The pumpkin launching competition garnered attention from several Capital Region news media, including CBS 6, the Times Union, and WNYT News Channel 13.

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