Thursday's cold, misty weather had many at Appalachian Power Park thinking more about winter than fall.
But it was a seasonal staple - pumpkins - that had drawn the crowds into the mist and wind.
More than 1,000 students from 22 schools tried to guard their gourds not from the elements, but from the falls to which they were about to be subjected.
As the 13th Annual Capital City Pumpkin Drop began, the less-than-desirable weather became a mere afterthought.
"I hate this (weather) for the kids, but if 22 out of 23 schools came, then that is awesome," said Melissa Thompson, event coordinator and associate professor at Bridgemont Community and Technical College, which sponsored the event.
The idea is not only to have a pumpkin survive the 40-foot drop from a scaffolding tower, but also to engage students in the scientific process.
Barbara McElwain was huddled under an umbrella with her students from Greenbrier East High School. She said she hopes the event fosters a passion for science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called "STEM" fields.
"They learn a lot about gravity, speed and acceleration. They also learn how to make a design and modify it. Hopefully, doing activities like this will get more kids interested in being engineers because we need more of them in this country and in this state," she said.
To prepare her students for the intricacies of constructing a sturdy pumpkin holding cell, McElwain first had them design containers for eggs from nothing but paper and tape.
Like the pumpkins, the eggs had to survive a long drop intact.
Stephen Sampson, a senior in McElwain's physics class, already wants to be an aeronautical engineer, so events like the pumpkin drop and the egg project interest him.
His group designed a container with a flared stabilizer on top and a lengthened body to make sure it landed upright. The closer a container and pumpkin landed to the center of the bull's-eye on the landing pad, the better.
A cavity filled with separate paper chambers stuffed with cotton was placed under the pumpkin to absorb the blow. A sealed layer of dirt was added to give the bottom weight.