It may have rained all week, but that didn’t stop the laughs at the 42nd O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships Saturday, May 11, 2019 in Brush Square Park.
Thanks to the generosity of the Hilton Austin, the festivities, usually held outside behind the O. Henry Museum and Dickinson House moved across the street to one of the large, dry, comfortable ballrooms at the hotel. The Hilton Austin graciously provided space for a capacity crowd of an estimated 1,000 who came in to escape the rains as well as enjoy the annual pun fest.
Winners of the Punniest of Show competition were first place, Jerzy Gwiazdowski; 2nd place, Sam Corbin; and 3rd place, Erika Ettin.
The PunSlingers champions were 1st place, Allison Fisher; 2nd place Arun Debray, and Jerry Yan and Michael Maskin tied for 3rd.
McClughan Memorial Most Valuable Punster, an annual recognition based on Pun-Off participants' votes, went to Sam Corbin.
Punster of the Year (P.O.T.Y.) Scott Hilburn, author of the syndicated comics The Argyle Sweater, received his award at a Friday night contestant's dinner sponsored by the Brush Square Museums Foundation.
Jest For the Pun of Wit
Activities started before the competition with live music provided by Emily Gimble as “Emily Gimble & Friends,” a trio with piano, guitar, and fiddle.
The Brush Square Museums Foundation volunteers organized a used book sale and silent auction at the Pun-Off to raise funds for the O. Henry and Susanna Dickinson Museums. For example, grants were made to restore O. Henry's personal dictionary, invite exhibit guest speakers, sponsor a performance of an original play about Susanna Dickinson in the Alamo, and creation of an augmented reality app to inform museum visitors.
The Foundation is currently working on a fundraising campaign to help restore the ca. 1861 O.Henry family baby grand piano.
If you missed this year’s Pun-Off, don’t despair. The Pun-Off will return to Brush Square Park for the 43rd time in 2020 for more fun on Saturday, May 9.
Photo Gallery (click image to see slide show)