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2nd Annual Punkin’ Chunkin’ slated for Saturday, October 21st

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Catapulting pumpkins in the air and other autumn-friendly activities are coming up over the next few weeks at Hartwood Acres, located in Hampton and Indiana townships.

Returning for a second year is Punkin’ Chunkin’ on Oct. 21, a free event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In collaboration with Allegheny County Parks and SHARP Robotics of the Sarah Heinz House, pumpkins will be catapulted over the amphitheater field to see how far they go, according to Christine Nguyen, director of the robotics program at the Sarah Heinz House.

She and a group of students from local high schools of the Sarah Heinz House’ Boys and Girls Club are bringing last year’s catapult as well as building an 8- to 10-foot trebuchet, which is a different type of launching device to toss pumpkins.

The wooden devices are pretty much like the ones used centuries earlier, she said. Last year, they succeeded a few 100-yard tosses, she said. While it was a dreary, cold day, Nguyen said they still attracted approximately 100 gourd-loving spectators.

They’re hoping for better weather and will also have opportunities for children to build free mini-catapults and have pumpkins to paint, said Nguyen.

Uber will also be there showcasing a vehicle, she said.

Sarah Heinz House invites students from local schools to take part in its afterschool programs, like the robotics one, said Nguyen. She said these students may be interested in robotics and engineering but may not have the programs available at their schools.

They do the Punkin’ Chunkin’ to spread the word about engineering.

“We’re really there to make engineering fun for everyone and show that anyone can do it,” said Nguyen.

Kevin Evanto, director of communications for Allegheny County, said there will also be crafts, balloon artists, face painters, and food trucks there.

“It’s a unique event that’s fun for both kids and adults,” he said.

For details, call 412-767-9200.

Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.