CulinArt initiates Pumpkin Olympics

Credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor Credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor Credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor Credit: Isaac Jones/Comics Editor

Halloween may be officially over, but pumpkin season is still in full swing. CulinArt, along with co-sponsorship from Lipton Brisk Ice Tea and Carnegie Mellon’s AB Concerts, will introduce a new annual event, the Pumpkin Olympics, to campus on Saturday. It is scheduled to take place in Donner Ditch from 2-4 p.m., followed by free pizza for all participants in Tartans Pavilion.

Shelby Cole, student activities director for CulinArt, initiated the idea and creation of the Pumpkin Olympics. “The idea for the Pumpkin Olympics was my brainchild. When I initially pitched this to my superiors, it was going to be the ‘Turkey Olympics,’ being so close to the holiday season. We didn’t want to offend anyone, so we decided to do the event with pumpkins instead,” said Cole.

The Pumpkin Olympics will have three main events centered on the infamous squash: bowling, relay races, and catapulting. These games were designed in response to students’ assumption that pumpkins only have limited uses and that, once Halloween is over, they are irrelevant and no longer of much use. However, all of the games created for the Pumpkin Olympics go beyond the traditional uses of pumpkins for carving and eating.

As the bowling, relay race, and catapulting events imply, pumpkins can be used as the object for a multitude of entertaining games in which they are smashed or thrown. More importantly, the event was created to allow students to relieve stress before finals week and to simply have fun. Cole further stated that “we are not only trying to provide students with quality food, but also provide them with events that will allow them the opportunity to break away from studying and blow off some steam and enjoy the college experience.” CulinArt hopes that the Pumpkin Olympics will become a favorite Carnegie Mellon tradition to relieve stress before finals, in addition to the already famous annual primal scream by the Fence.

Even though the event has not yet occurred, it has already garnered attention. Will Pettijohn-Hernandez, a senior fine arts and creating writing major, said, “Two words: Pumpkin catapult. I know I don’t need to say more, but a bunch of games based on a squash sounds pretty ridiculous and very entertaining. Halloween never gets the credit it deserves in Pittsburgh when it goes from summer straight to winter; we go from Halloween to Christmas. Punctuating the season with gratuitous amounts of pumpkins helps us take back the month of November.”

Not only will the Pumpkin Olympics offer a healthy means to relieve stress and offer students a chance to re-evaluate the use of pumpkins, but the team that scores the most points in the three events will receive a $100 cash prize, four backstage passes to Saturday’s Dr. Dog concert, and a Lipton Brisk Ice Tea prize pack. The concert, hosted by AB Concerts, will be held on the same day at 8 p.m. in the Weigand Gymnasium in the University Center.

In anticipation of the event, Anne Dirkes, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said, “I’m really excited for Pumpkin Olympics. This is something that I think a lot of students can get into and have a lot of fun with. I especially can’t wait for the catapult event and seeing pumpkins hurled across Donner Ditch!”

Pre-registration is required to participate in the Pumpkin Olympics. The event is limited to the first 25 teams of four that pre-register. Students can pre-register by emailing Shelby Cole ( with their team name and all of the names of their team members.