Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird, it’s a plane ? it’s a pumpkin?

For the 24th year, pumpkins will be falling from atop West Virginia University’s 11-story Engineering Sciences Building during the annual Pumpkin Drop. More than 200 teams will compete in the event, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 28, at 10 a.m.

Morgantown’s Suncrest Middle School will return to defend its title from 2010, taking on schools from across West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

The goal of the competition is to design an enclosure or apparatus to protect a pumpkin from damage when dropped from the roof of the building. The surviving pumpkins that land closest to a target on the ground and the pumpkin carrying device having the best design will be among the winning entries. Pumpkins must be at least 10-inches in diameter and the pumpkin and its protective structure weight is limited to 60 pounds. Associate Professor Emeritus Wally Venable will serve as judge for this year’s event.

“The Pumpkin Drop continues to be a popular event at the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources,” said Pat Goldie, administrative associate to the chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “Due to the large number of participants, members of our freshmen class graciously agreed to do a ‘mini drop’ on Thursday as a test. This allowed more schools to register to compete in the event, which usually has a cut-off of 150 entries.”

Refreshments and commemorative “Pumpkin Drop” t-shirts will be for sale. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown. Participating companies include the Hilton Garden Inn, which is donating pumpkin pies, and Office Depot, which donated campus banners and will be providing candy to the students and pen packets to the teachers in attendance.

The event is sponsored by WVU’s student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. ASME’s mission is to serve our diverse global communities by advancing, disseminating and applying engineering knowledge for improving the quality of life; and communicating the excitement of engineering.

-WVU-

mcd/10/20/11

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CONTACT: Mary C. Dillon, CEMR
304-293-4086; mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu