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Q: When and where will the 2023 O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships be?

We will spring for words to the Pun-Off's traditional second weekend in May, in other words, Saturday, May 13, 2023, 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. The event will be held indoors at Hilton Austin, just across the street from Brush Square Park in Austin. A social event for contestants and guests is planned for Friday evening (location TBA). There is no charge to attend the event or compete! If you're interested in competing, registration opens on April 1st at 12pm CDT (-5 GMT) on, and closes on April 4th at 11:59 CDT. (-5 GMT) Contestants are chosen via lottery. If you are interested in being in the audience, no ticket is required and the event is free. We use a randomized lottery system because we have more potential contestants than 32 slots for each competition. For announcements and news stay tuned to this website.

Q: Where can I park on the day of the event?

Event parking at the Hilton Austin is $20. Credit card payment is preferred. Cash for parking is accepted at the Hilton's front desk prior to exiting the parking garage. There is limited street parking, but many public parking garages are located near the Hilton.

Q: Will the event be presented live on stage with two contests?

Yes, Punniest of Show and PunSlingers, each with 32 contestants.


Q: Will competitions be face-to-face or virtual?

Live! Performed on stage. We plan to stream the event for remote viewers.


Q: If it’s a live event, will the rules be like before?

Yes. Watch the 2022 YouTube recording or 2019 before COVID.


Q: If COVID City of Austin restrictions are restored, what will happen?

We hope that doesn’t happen, but if it does we will do our best to have recommended restrictions at a live event.


Q: Will the 32 contestants be invited, recruited or chosen by lottery?

Some recent winners will be invited. But the remaining limited spots will be assigned by random lottery.


Q: I have a friend who really should enter this contest. Where do we go to sign up?

Registration in a lottery for a chance to compete traditionally opens April 1 - 4, 2023.


Q: How can I view the live Pun-Off event this year?

Come to Austin!! Its really the best way and is a free event! But we will post links later for a live stream. 


Q: Is the O. Henry Museum Pun-Off World Championships a charitable fund raiser or a for-profit event?

Donations are collected by Brush Square Museums Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to the O.Henry Museum and Susanna Dickinson Museum, which are operated by the City of Austin. The event is free to attend and compete in.


Q: Why is O. Henry known for puns?

He used puns and cleaver wordplay in many short stories. O. Henry’s well worn dictionary is displayed at the O. Henry Museum.


Q: Who started the O. Henry Museum Pun-Off and when?

It began in 1977 as an informal event, but really grew in the 1980’s and 1990’s with thousands watching in the back yard of the O. Henry Museum, i.e. Brush Square, one of the original four Austin parks.


Q: Who wrote the rules for this competition?

The rules evolve as necessary every year, check out our Rules page for more information.


Q: Who decides what topics are used in PunSlingers?

Brian Oakley is the “Topic Guru” plus they are debated by P.U.N.Y. (Punsters United Nearly Yearly.) You’d be surprised how much thought goes into what makes an appropriate topic! Topics come and groan with some favorites like “body parts” appearing jearly.


Q: What are the time limits for PunSlingers or Punniest of Show?

See the Rules page


Q: Are there other punning competitions around the world?

Yes, competitive pun events are quite popular today in New York, London, and Seattle, for example, but we first started our two contests in 1977. This is the 46th JEAR.

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