For over 25 years Philadelphia Women’s Rugby Football Club (PWRFC) has hosted the Pumpkinfest Women’s Rugby Tournament as a pre-season, fall venue for the top women’s clubs across the country. Pumpkinfest, or P-fest, originally held in October, has evolved over the years as the women’s club structure has changed.
“When USA Rugby moved the women’s club National Championships from the spring to the fall in 2006, we had to move P-fest to September to avoid conflicting with the league schedule, especially playoffs,” explained 2009 Pumpkinfest Coordinator and PWRFC Treasurer, Kerstin Nordstrom. However, the league structure was again changed in fall 2009 with the creation of the Women’s Premier League and Division I’s new “Competitive Region” structure. These changes called for league matches to begin as early as the third weekend in August, causing Pumpkinfest to fall practically mid-season.
“We decided that a mid-season fall tournament was basically useless for competitive clubs, so P-fest 2011 will be held on August 27-28,” said 2011 Pumpkinfest Coordinator, Emily Tunney.
In addition to the new date, Pumpkinfest 2011 will be held at a new venue: Alapocas Run State Park in Wilmington, DE. “It will be a little odd not having the tournament in Philly,” said captain Emily Record, “But the high cost and low quality of fields in Philadelphia made our decision easy.” The transition to Alapocas was made even easier by PWRFC head coach, Bob Weir, who has been affiliated with Alapocas since his tenure as head coach of Wilmington Men.
Philadelphia WRFC also welcomes a new vendor to the Pumpkinfest Tournament this year. “We have entered into an agreement with Rugby Athletic making them our sole provider of rugby apparel and gear, which extends to P-fest,” said Nordstrom. The Minnesota-based company will be making the trip to the east coast for their first-ever Pumpkinfest Tournament.
The conflict of a tournament called Pumpkinfest hosted by a Philadelphia team taking place in August in Delaware is not lost on PWRFC. As Tunney explains, “PWRFC is 35 years old and Pumpkinfest is 27 years old. We feel that the traditions of PWRFC and Pumpkinfest, along with the brand recognition that accompanies those names, are more important than a location and a date. We want to provide a high-level, pre-season tournament, where women’s clubs can ‘work out the kinks,’ so to speak, before diving head first into the competitive season. Alapocas in August creates the right environment for us to accomplish that goal.”
For more information about Pumpkinfest 2011, or to register a team, please visit www.pwrfc.org or contact Emily Tunney at