Long Branch Historic House and Farm in Boyce, Virginia has decided to do away with its annual fall hot air balloon festival. The colorful balloons will instead be replaced by flying pumpkins.
Angela Anderson, Long Branch’s interim executive director, asked permission from the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday to modify Long Branch’s fall festival special use permit to include “punkin’ chunkin’” in place of hot air balloons. According to the Long Branch website, the festival will also include kite flying, crafters, wine tasting, and music.
The Supervisors asked about the methods used for propelling the pumpkins (man-made machines the first year with no use of chemical or pneumatic machines); whether the pumpkins contained anything other than organic materials (the pumpkins will not contain chemicals); how the smashed pumpkin pulp will be removed (natural decay ); and whether the flying pumpkins will traverse other people’s property in flight (no).
Anderson told the Supervisors that Long Branch hopes to enlist local scouting troops, clubs, and community groups to enter punkin’ chunkin’ machines in the future as the event becomes better known.
Anderson said that the great pumpkin plans will not change the scope or attendance conditions outlined in the previously approved special use permit for the event.
No reason was stated for the change from balloons to pumpkins. However, poor weather conditions have caused difficulties for staging the balloons in the past. Local property owners have also been vocal about concerns over noise and traffic associated with the event.
There was no discussion about the impacts on County tourism, if any, associated with the change.
The Supervisors unanimously approved the special use permit change.
Long Branch Historic House and Farm’s Fall Festival is scheduled for October 12, 13 and 14.