The 14 January event started as a competition for throwing a fruitcake as far as possible, but has evolved to include more sophisticated methods of hurling baked goods.

Of all the bad holiday gifts, perhaps none is as much maligned as fruitcake. But for those who have extra, unwanted loaves lying around, Manitou Springs, Colorado has the ultimate solution.

The 17th Annual Fruitcake Toss, on 14 January, offers a full day of dessert-disposing competitions. The original event, the basic “Fruitcake Toss”, gives contestants the chance to physically throw a one pound fruitcake as far as possible. Over the years, however, the competition has evolved to include more sophisticated methods of hurling baked goods. The “Fruitcake Launch”, a separate competition held on the same day, allows contestants to use mechanical devices, pressurized air guns and cannons to launch a two pound confection across an empty field in hopes of earning the coveted trophy and bragging rights for farthest travelling fruitcake.  A team of Boeing engineers holds the current record of 1,500ft, breaking their own previously set record of 1,450ft just last year.

Spinoff competitions include “Catch the Fruitcake”, where up to three team members stand in the field and must catch the four fruitcakes launched, and “Accuracy With Targets”, where shooters try to hit angled targets at 75ft, 125ft and 175ft.

A canned food is the only entry fee, which goes to support local charities. While organizers strongly encourage participants to bring or bake their own fruitcake for the events, a limited number of the maligned baked goods are available to “rent” for $1.