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It's Pumpkin Palooza!

Hobart_October has arrived and Halloween is just a few weeks away.  Hobart is celebrating the holiday's symbol this weekend - the pumpkin.  Hobart hosting the first ever Pumpkin Palooza, with more than 2,500 pumpkins.  There will be decorating contests, pumpkin games, and more - some kids participated in pumpkin pitching on Friday.

The Pumpkin Palooza is part of the 6th Annual Kiowa County Heritage Day.  The event will feature the destruction of dozens of pumpkins in the "Pumpkin Chunkin'" contest.  Although it looks like something you may see on Fort Sill, a cannon at the festival is built for one thing - pumpkins.  Pumpkin cannon builder Todd Duff researched information about building the cannon on-line.  "I went to YouTube and looked at some videos: how they were made, what they did," he said.  "I just looked at [the videos] and said I had some of that stuff laying around, so I decided to build it."

The cannon is built from an old propane tank, attached to a jet-ski trailer and a 10-inch pipe - the perfect size for a pumpkin.  "Me and my partner that helped me build it, we like shooting things, messing with things, it just kind of brings the kid out in you so you can just go have fun," he said.  Cannons fire at a target 1,000 feet in the distance, and there is a catapult division, too.  A launcher uses a basketball net to hold the pumpkin.  "This contraption, here, can be pretty dangerous," said catapult builder Austin Simmons.  "You have to use a pick-up to pull that arm down and load it, and the pumpkins are about 10-pound pumpkins."

The catapult can fire about 900-feet, and the goal is a target about 300 feet away - the "chuckers" adjust for accuracy.  So, whether you're a big pumpkin, or a little pumpkin, all ages and sizes are welcome in the First Annual Pumpkin Palooza.  Festivities begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, and the cannon launching begins at 2 p.m.

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