THE 2014 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST WINNERS ARE…

September 4th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picThis year’s Watermelon Carving Contest was by far the most successful carving contest we’ve hosted here on the blog. We received nearly 100 carvings, which more than doubled last year’s total.

But it wasn’t the sheer number of carvings that amazed me; it was the quality of the carvings. Intricate rind etchings, elaborate flowers and stacked arrangements, really funny and creative carvings. I was truly impressed and blown away by all of them.

That’s what made the task of choosing a first, second and third place winner in each category so challenging. Thankfully, I was only tasked with advising on the winners. The folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board were the ones with the tall task of combing through all of the entries and picking the best of the best.

In fact, they had such a tough time choosing the winners that they decided to add a fourth place prize ($25) to each category.

Below are photos of the first place winners in each category followed by YOUR pick for the $500 People’s Choice award. Thanks again to everyone who entered carvings in this year’s contest, and thanks to everyone for voting!

BEST FRUIT BASKET CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($150): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA

SECOND PLACE ($100): Truc D. from Davis, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Nicole H. from Webster, WI
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ethyl D. from Nederland, TX

FUNNIEST CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Jeanne F. from Manhattan Beach, CA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Donna L. from Merced, CA

 MOST ELEGANT CARVING

1. Eric Lai -3D FLOWER WITH LEAVES_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Eric L. from Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

SECOND PLACE ($100): Nan D. from Kingston, TN
THIRD PLACE ($50): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada
FOURTH PLACE ($25): John M. from Lapeer, MI

STAR SPANGLED CARVING (PATRIOTIC)

1. Dustin Evans - EAGLE_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK

SECOND PLACE ($100): Laura P. from Vancouver, WA
THIRD PLACE ($50): Rose F. from San Diego, CA
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

BEST ANIMAL CARVING

1. Aneta Lekas - PEACOCK_FINALIST

FIRST PLACE ($150): Aneta L. from Toronto, Canada

SECOND PLACE ($100): April S. from Jackson, NJ
THIRD PLACE ($50): Dustin E. from Broken Arrow, OK
FOURTH PLACE ($25): Ryan A. from Spokane, WA

PEOPLE’S CHOICE CARVING

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FIRST PLACE ($500): Donna L.  from Merced, CA

UP NEXT: Some tailgating inspiration

 

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SECOND SLICE: AN INTERVIEW WITH A MASTER WATERMELON CARVER

July 23rd, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

The National Watermelon Promotion Board is celebrating National Watermelon Month with our 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest. They’re giving away $2,000 in prizes (including $1,000 to our grand prize “People’s Choice” winner), and the first 50 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board.

The deadline for entries is August 4. Check out the contest kickoff blog entry or official contest page for categories, entry requirements and more details!

picPretty much everyone has carved a pumpkin at some point, typically around Halloween and usually in the old “triangle eyes and toothy grin” jack-o-lantern style. Of course, you can also carve watermelon, but until there’s a holiday that turns watermelon carving into a tradition – in the same way the egg enthusiasts scored a win with Easter – most people will probably never carve a watermelon.

By “most people,” I’m definitely not referring to artist Hugh McMahon. Hugh is an artistic genius when it comes to carving pumpkins and watermelons. His creations (a sampling of which can be seen on the right) have been featured worldwide in restaurants, events, magazines, books and on TV.

Hugh’s specialty is celebrity portraits carved on pumpkins, including designs created for Ronald Reagan and Martha Stewart, but his elaborate floral watermelon centerpieces are equally stunning. (Check out the video of Hugh in action at the bottom of this entry.) I recently had an opportunity to interview Hugh about his handiwork, and here’s what he had to say.

Q: How is carving a watermelon different from carving a pumpkin? Does each offer its own unique advantages?

Carving the watermelon is more messy and sticky, but what I like about the watermelon is that it’s more colorful.

Q: What’s the most unusual design you’ve ever been asked to carve?

I once carved a bullfight in many watermelons for a Marriott Marquis tapas station at a party. I also carved the life history of James Beard for the James Beard Foundation in 15 watermelons. You can find me carving a portrait of James Beard on the video below. You can also see watermelons on my webpage, gochelsea.com/pumpkins.

Q: What do you do with all the watermelon that you scoop out of each creation? I ask because I carved a watermelon once, and I pretty much ate everything as I was scooping it out. It’s not something I’m proud of (neither the carving nor the gluttony). I guess the real question is: Do you enjoy eating watermelons as much as you enjoy carving them?

I do eat some as I am cleaning it out, but most of it I squeeze into watermelon juice. I prefer it that way. I drank some fresh-squeezed watermelon yesterday.

Q: Have you ever considered branching out beyond pumpkins and watermelon and carving other fruits and vegetables? Could there be a cucumber or cantaloupe sculpture somewhere in your future?

I do carve other fruits and vegetables. I’ve carved apples for the cover of Time Out New York magazine, and I’ve carved cantaloupe, squash, peppers. I’ve also created bread sculptures. For the children’s book coming out this summer, I did some carvings with turnips, peppers and broccoli.

 

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KEEP THOSE CARVINGS COMING!

July 16th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Like I mentioned in an entry in June, the National Watermelon Promotion Board is celebrating National Watermelon Month with the 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest. The board is giving away $2,000 in prizes (including $500 to our grand prize “People’s Choice” winner) and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board.

The deadline for entries is August 4. Check out the contest kickoff blog entry or official contest web page for categories, entry requirements and more details. We’ve received lots of entries so far, but we’ve still got some of those watermelon cutting boards left, so get your entries in soon to get one of your own!

As inspiration for your carvings, I’ve decided to feature the four carvings I’ve done so far this year. Check ‘em out below and let me know which one is your favorite by leaving a comment. And don’t be a joker and say the golf ball is your favorite, because I already know that one is terrible.

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The Watermelon Lego

 

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The Watermelon Owl

 

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The Watermelon Golf Ball

 

water finished

The Watermelon Vase

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