Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 4:35pm
UPDATE: Can Punkin' Chunkin' stay in Sussex Co.?
Sussex County's abundance of farmland and large parcels may help it retain Punkin' Chunkin,' says one state lawmaker.
Senator Brian Pettyjohn, R- Georgetown, says he is hopeful a suitable location can be found for an event which has "been an economic boon to the Bridgeville area for the past several years."
Farm owner Dale Wheatley, according to published reports, says he will not host this year's flinging of the gourds, due to liability concerns.
Pettyjohn proposed legislation last fall that would have limited non-economic damages for personal injury or wrongful death at special events to $710,000.
The bill did not get enough support to be introduced at the time.
Pettyjohn says he is disappointed that the Punkin' Chunkin' Association and Mr. Wheatley could not come to an agreement.
A Bridgeville farmer tells the Wilmington News Journal that this October's Punkin Chunkin event will NOT be held on his property.
Dale Wheatley has allowed thousands of pumpkin-propelling enthusiasts and fans onto his Bridgeville farm since 2007; he recently told Punkin Chunkin organizers that he feared more lawsuits like the one an injured event volunteer filed against the farm last fall.
For that reason, Wheatley said in an interview Monday with the newspaper that he has shut the door on Punkin Chunkin returning to his property; the paper quotes Wheatley as saying the Town of Bridgeville is upset about the news, but Wheatley says he just can't stand to be sued all the time.
Punkin Chunkin Association President John Huber announced last November that the organization was considering a move because of the lawsuit and because of what the state and county governments charged for services. Huber said at that time that if they didn't have a decision by March they were going to start looking at moving Punkin Chunkin elsewhere.
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