O. Henry Pun-off Day

(Also known as O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships, O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, The O. Henry Pun-Off)

O. Henry Pun-off Day is observed next on Friday, May 16th, 2025 (354 days from today).

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O. Henry Pun-off Day is a yearly spoken word competition that takes place every May at the O. Henry Museum in Austin, Texas.

History of O. Henry Pun-off Day

In Austin, Texas, behind O. Henry Museum in the area of Brush Square Park, you will find the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championship. This annual contest celebrates wordplay and is named for O. Henry, a writer who incorporated wit, puns, and puns into his short stories. To become a contestant, one must register first. Viewing of the event is open to the public and spectators are encouraged to groan in approval in response to the pun.

A pun can be a way of using one word or words to suggest another meaning or it can be the use of two words that sound similar but have different meanings. They are often humorous but not necessarily for the opponent. Humor in puns comes naturally, and is subjective, with different people thinking that different types are humorous.

Two competitions make up the competition: Punniest of Show and Punslingers. During the Punniest of Show, up to 32 contestants have 90 seconds to share prepared material or practice on a certain topic. Props, costumes and music are often used. After each contestant's time has elapsed, a "gentle" bell rings. If they continue puns and go past the two-minute mark, a "hard" bell rings and they are disqualified. They are rated on a 1-10 scale by multiple examiners and given cumulative points. The top three scorers are recognized as the winners of the Punniest of Show Contest. If there is a tie, the audience decide who the winner will be.

The Punslingers competition focuses on improvisation rather than something pre-prepared. As in Punniest of Show, up to 32 contestants can participate. Rival pairs are given topics and have to think on their feet. The judge gives a signal and each player has 5 seconds to make or start a pun. Then the referee signals to their opponent and they have to play with words. This continues until the contestants falter and are eliminated. In the end, only one pun was left!

O. Henry was named William Sydney Porter. During the last decade of his life, he was known for his short stories about people from all walks of life filled with wit, puns, puns, ingenious character descriptions, twists and turns and unexpected ending. He was born on September 11th, 1862 in Greensboro, North Carolina. However, in 1884, he later moved to Austin, where he got married Athol Estes in 1887 and started a humorous newspaper called The Rolling Stone. After it was folded, he wrote for the Houston Post.

Porter also worked as an Austin bank teller, and in 1896 he was indicted for embezzlement, which was actually the result of technical mismanagement. He escaped to New Orleans and Honduras later. After learning of his wife's illness, he returned to Austin in 1897. She soon died and Porter was sent to an Ohio prison. That's where he started writing adventure stories. He was released from prison in 1902, moved to New York City, and began publishing under the name O. Henry. His first collection of stories, which he wrote while in captivity, was published as Cabbage and Kings in 1904.

He is best known for writing stories about the middle and lower classes of New York City, which began appearing in the Sunday World in 1904. A lot of his stories have been put in anthologies. One of his most famous collections is The Four Million, which includes one of his most famous stories, "Gift of the Magi". One of his other notable stories is "The Ransom of Red Chief." In total, he published more than 300 stories before his death on June 5, 1910. Many of his stories continued to be collected and published after the posthumous period.

How to celebrate O. Henry Pun-off Day

The best way to commemorate O. Henry Pun-off Day is by taking part in the O. Henry Pun-Off Day occurring at Austin's Brush Square Park. If you want to enter contests, be sure to register in advance to enter the contest draw. If not, become a spectator and you'll be sure to groan at all the puns. You can also stop at the O. Henry Museum because you'll be right next to it. If you can't make it to Austin, watch a short video or documentary about the competition. You can also spend the day playing puns wherever you are or reading a book about puns. In addition, it is also an ideal day to read more O. Henry.


O. Henry Pun-off Day has been observed the third Friday in May.


Friday, May 19th, 2023

Friday, May 17th, 2024

Friday, May 16th, 2025

Friday, May 15th, 2026

Friday, May 21st, 2027

Also on Friday, May 16th, 2025

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