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Published on April 18, 2024
Austin's 47th Annual O. Henry Museum Pun-Off Invites Linguistic Sharpshooters for a Day of WordplaySource: City of Austin

Wordplay warriors, get ready to pun your hearts out. Austin's O. Henry Museum is revving up for a showdown of verbal jesters at the 47th Annual O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships. According to an official announcement, this linguistic free-for-all will sprawl across Brush Square Park on May 11, from the morning chirp at 10:00 a.m. to the evening hush at 6:00 p.m. – and friends, let me tell you, for the price of nada. That's right, leave your dollars at home because entry is zilch, zero, zip.

Touted as one of the city’s most enduring "weird" traditions, the Pun-Off salutes William Sydney Porter—a guy who knew his way around a quip—alias O. Henry. In homage to the author who once called this Queen Anne-style cottage home, pun enthusiasts have flocked here for nearly half a century, armed with nothing but their sharpest tongues and snappiest one-liners. And coming up, punsters will grace the stage of the beloved event’s traditional spot, now spiffed up and sporting a new stage constructed just for the occasion of wit warfare.

There's more than just bragging rights at stake here. The event splits into two head-to-head matches: the Punniest of Show for crafted stories bustling with puns, and the Punslingers for rapid-fire, impromptu punning mayhem. Competitors can try their hand at one or double down on both, risking pun overload. And if listening to puns spin faster than a fidget spinner on a sugar high wasn't enough, there are also live tunes provided by Kathleen Turner Overdrive—serenading or soothing souls post-pun battle, only time will tell.

Look, punning is not just about having a laugh or groan; it's for a cause. The event is throwing in a silent auction, groovy t-shirts for purchase, and even some food trucks for your munching pleasure. Remember, this isn't just a festival of linguistic gymnastics, it's a fundraiser to keep the O. Henry Museum perky for pun-lovers future and present. So while you're filling your belly with grub or your brain with gags, know that it's all for the funds to keep O. Henry's memory more alive than a cat with nine lives and a pacemaker.

As for the logistics, don't get your knickers in a knot over parking. While street parking is more unpredictable than a cat on catnip, there are plenty of public parking garages nearby. The closest parking garage can be found at the Austin Convention Center, just a stone's throw away—convenient for those loaded to the gills with puns and ready to unload their arsenal.