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Ritual & Medicinal

The Great Fruitcake Toss

Why throw old cakes away when you can launch them by hand, slingshot, or cannon?

Every year, millions of Christmas celebrants feature fruitcake on their tables. After the holidays, it remains untouched. Rather than eat the unpalatable loaf, families eventually just toss it in the trash.

In 1996, a group in Manitou Springs, Colorado, decided to approach fruitcake-tossing with some extra imagination. They gathered in a public park to dispose of their unloved holiday cakes. But instead of just throwing them out, the group literally threw the dense wads as far as they could. Competition ensued.

Over the last two decades, the January celebration has grown to include a slew of diverse events. In addition to the classic hand toss, past offerings have included the fruitcake slingshot (with robotic, mechanical, and three-man divisions) and a pneumatic weapon launch. In 2007, a team of Boeing engineers shot a cake 1,420 feet using a mock artillery piece. (By comparison, the hand toss winner that year clocked in 124 feet.)

The festivities also include a kids’ fruitcake toss, complete with targets, as well as speed and balance games. Those who are less interested in athletics can enter the fruitcake costume competition or the “Too Good to Toss” bake-off. 

So the next time you find yourself staring at a stale, uneaten holiday dessert, remember: Just because you’re not going to eat it doesn’t mean you have to throw it in the garbage.

Need to Know

The Great Fruitcake Toss is held in late January. Entrance costs one nonperishable food item, donated to a local charity. Anyone who had the nerve to actually eat their holiday fruitcake can "rent" one to toss for a buck.

Where to Try It
  • Manitou Springs Memorial Park
    502 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, Colorado, 80829, United States

    The site of the 2018 Great Fruitcake Toss.

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Contributed by
rachelrummel
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