Sussex County Works to Keep Punkin Chunkin - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Sussex County Works to Keep Punkin Chunkin

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(Photo: WBOC) (Photo: WBOC)

BRIDGEVILLE, Del. - Every year Punkin Chunkin gives a tremendous boost to the economy of Sussex County. However, in the last month officials from the organization have started to consider moving the three-day festival to another region. In the aftermath of this announcement, Sussex County has made its case for keeping Punkin Chunkin in Bridgeville. 

There are two main reasons why Punkin Chunkin is considering a move out of Sussex County. The first reason relates to state insurance laws in which the Delaware policy is more strict, according to the organizers of the event. This follows a pending lawsuit, in which a person working for Punkin Chunkin sued over injuries sustained in 2012.

The second reason relates to a Sussex County policy relating to emergency personnel. In previous years, the county had provided paramedics, dispatchers, and mobile command units free of charge. But in 2013, due to a change in large-event policies, they gave the organizers a bill of nearly $12,000.

Sussex County Councilman Vance Phillipes said it would be a tremendous loss if Punkin Chunkin was to leave the county.

"It would feel like we're losing something," he said. "Punkin Chunkin was born here, it grew up here, it has matured to a worldwide signature event for Sussex County. So we have got to do what we can do to keep it."

As far as Sussex County's policy, the fee can not be waived by the council. However, Phillips said he plans to give grant money from his district for the company, and he hopes the other council members will join him as well.

"We in Sussex County as public officials have to let them know that we love them," he said. "And that we want them to stay."

Bridgeville Town Manager Jesse Savage said it would be detrimental if the event was to leave the small town. Bridgeville has just more than 2,000 residents, but during Punkin Chunkin, the town averages about 70,000 people flocking to the area. Savage said losing this would be damaging for the local economy. He said if it moved, it would not only damage their economy, but also it would strip away a piece of Sussex County history.

"When you think Punkin Chunkin, you think Sussex County," he said. "And that's how it should be."

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