Fruitcake Toss Day is on January 3. On this day, take that fruitcake you never got around to eating and send it spiraling hundreds or thousands of feet into the air, depending on the power of your throwing arm. Every year, a few hundred people gather in downtown Manitou Springs, Colorado, to hurl hundreds of fruitcakes into the air by hand, cannon, or slingshot. Fruitcakes last for ages, so don’t throw out that fruitcake we both know no one in your home will eat; throw it into the air!
History of Fruitcake Toss Day
A fruitcake is a delicious cake made with candied or dried fruits and nuts often soaked in rum. In the United States, fruitcakes have become a ridiculed dessert, with many jokes about their longevity and age. From 20th century cartoons to TV programs like “Father Knows Best,” “The Donna Reed Show,” and “The Tonight Show,” there is an American subculture that involves good-natured jabs at fruitcakes, which led to the first Great Fruitcake Toss in 1996.
Fruitcake Toss Day started when a group of locals in Manitou Springs, Colorado, decided to make some fun out of tossing their old fruitcakes in the air. They went to a public park and made a competition out of it. The day was so fun that it has been celebrated every year since then, save for a few canceled editions. Every year, hundreds of spectators and participants gather for the quirky tradition of tossing fruitcakes. Traditionally, people participate in various competitions that test strength, accuracy, and balance, all revolving around launching fruitcakes into the air. The leftovers are then fed to a local pig named ‘Jezebel.’ Over the years, the celebration has included a slew of advancements on the classic hand toss, such as robotic or mechanical devices and a pneumatic weapon launch. In January 2007, 8 Boeing engineers set the record for the highest Great Fruitcake Toss when their mock artillery piece, the “Omega 8,” flung a fruitcake 1,430 feet into the air.
Did you know that the fruitcake from U.S. President Grover Cleveland’s wedding in 1886 is still intact in his hometown of Caldwell, New Jersey? Love or hate them, fruitcakes are probably one of the most regifted items in the U.S.A. Why not put them to good use by flinging them into glory in a grand gesture of hearty fun?
Fruitcake Toss Day timeline
The Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, popularizes fruitcakes by offering the mail-order option.
Host of late-night talk show, “The Tonight Show,” Johnny Carson, makes regular jabs at fruitcakes and their longevity.
A pineapple fruitcake, still on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, is taken on the Apollo 12 space mission.
The first Great Fruitcake Toss in Manitou Springs, Colorado, leads to the annual celebration of Fruitcake Toss Day.
On Fruitcake Toss Day, a group of Boeing engineers uses a machine called the 'Omega 8' to make the record of the highest Great Fruitcake Toss, at 1,430 feet.
Fruitcake Toss Day FAQs
Is there a national fruitcake day?
Fruitcake lovers across the United States of America commemorate National Fruitcake Day on December 27 every year. The holiday celebrates the delicious dessert well known for its unique texture.
Is stollen the same as fruitcake?
The German dessert, stollen, is very similar to the fruitcake. However, stollen is not soaked with spirits the way fruitcakes are. It is also less dense than a fruitcake, making it more like bread than cake.
Why does a fruitcake last so long?
Fruitcakes are notorious for their century-long shelf life. One of the reasons for this is its litany of dry ingredients. They are packed with many already preserved ingredients with little moisture for bacteria to grow on. The amount of alcohol in fruitcakes also stops mold and yeast from developing on its surface.
How to Celebrate Fruitcake Toss Day
Toss a fruitcake
The most obvious way to celebrate Fruitcake Toss Day is by tossing a fruitcake in the air. Just pick up any old fruitcake lying around and hurl it into the air to see how far it will go.
Catch a fruitcake
You can play a friendly game of fruitcake catch on Fruitcake Toss Day. All you need are some friends to play with, and you can turn that neglected fruitcake into a hot potato.
Eat a fruitcake
It probably sounds strange, but fruitcakes aren’t just for tossing – you can also eat them. If you’re a fruitcake lover, you can absolutely take a bite of your fruitcake before tossing it during the festivities.
5 Great Fruitcake Toss Activities
Join the fruitcake costume competition
Make or buy a stunning costume and join the annual fruitcake costume competition at The Great Fruitcake Toss.
Participate in the fruitcake bake-off
Tackle the bias against fruitcakes by baking the most fantastic fruitcake at the “Too Good To Toss” annual bake-off.
Hit a target with a fruitcake
Test your accuracy skills by trying to hit a bull’s eye target with a fruitcake at The Great Fruitcake Toss.
Launch a fruitcake with a cannon
Why throw fruitcakes around with your hands when you can launch them from a cannon instead?
Build a mini-catapult
Learn how to build a mini-catapult (and then build your own) at the Cool Science Exhibition of the Great Fruitcake Toss.
Why We Love Fruitcake Toss Day
We have to admit — throwing fruitcakes into the air sounds like a buttload of fun, and it is. You can get an amazing rush of endorphins from hurling tens of fruitcakes into the sky as far as you can. It’s therapeutic even.
Anyone can participate
You don’t need a special license to participate in Fruitcake Toss Day. In fact, you don’t need to travel to Colorado to join in the fun. No matter where you are, you can participate in the Fruitcake Toss Day celebrations as long as you have a fruitcake.
We love healthy competition
Nothing gets the heart racing more than testing your (or your robot’s) throwing arm against friends, family, and strangers. From the cheers to the triumph of winning and earning bragging rights, we love the healthy competition that takes place on Fruitcake Toss Day.
Fruitcake Toss Day dates