ON YOUR MARK, GET SET, CARVE!

March 14th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

We’re just over a month into the 2016 Watermelon Carving Contest and the competition is already heating up. This year, we wanted to give carvers plenty of time to create their amazing masterpieces, which is why you’re hearing about this now and not in June or July like years past. 2

We also made it mandatory that carvers must submit a photograph of their carving AND a photograph of them with their carving. (Hey, at least now you have a use for that Selfie Stick you got for Christmas.) You can create your watermelon masterpiece anytime between now and August 3 (when the contest entry period ends).

This year’s contest features a few new categories, with entries and prizes in each category divided into “Beginner” and “Experienced” groups of contestants:

  • Pop culture
  • Basket
  • Event/occasion
  • Elegant
  • Etched carvings

 

Did I mention how sweet the prizes are? Category leaders have the chance to take home $100, and of course there’s the $250 “Judge’s Choice” prize and a $250 “People’s Choice” prize. So, what are you waiting for? Get carving and don’t forget those selfies!

UP NEXT: GO GREEN FOR ST. PATTY’S DAY

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BREAK OUT YOUR CUTTING BOARD: THE 2016 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST HAS BEGUN!

February 8th, 2016 by The Watermelon Guy

Yes, you read that correctly — the 2016 Watermelon Carving Contest has arrived. NWPB-0002_2016CarvingContest_Logo

This year, we’re doing things a little differently, which is why you’re reading about this in February instead of June or July. We decided that, since you can’t rush perfection, we wanted to give carvers a little more time to create some pretty amazing masterpieces.

You can create a carving now — don’t forget to take a photo of the carving AND a photo of you with the carving — and then submit your carving when the contest entry period starts in July (don’t worry, I’ll be posting reminders about the contest and the start of the entry period throughout the year).

And remember: Creativity is key to impressing the judges, both in terms of the creativity of your overall idea and the creativity of the staging (background) of your carving.

This year’s contest also features some new categories, with entries (and prizes) in each category divided into “Beginner” and “Experienced” groups of contestants:

  1. Pop culture
  2. Basket
  3. Event/Occasion
  4. Elegant
  5. Etched carvings

And, of course, there will be some pretty sweet prizes. Each category will have a $100 first place winner for the experienced carvers and a $100 first place prize for the beginner carvings. Our judges will also choose a $250 “Judges’ Choice” winner from all of the carvings from both the experienced and beginner entries. And, finally, the public will vote online to determine the overall $250 People’s Choice winner.

Stay tuned for more updates and carving inspiration throughout the year. In the meantime, go ahead and start carving. And remember…you can submit as many carvings as you’d like!

UP NEXT: A SWEET VALENTINE’S RECIPE

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INTERVIEW WITH A WATERMELON CARVER: ADRIENNE SCRIMA

November 28th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

Adrienne Scrima is just one semester away from officially being an alumna of Grove City College in western Pennsylvania. When the young journalism student isn’t buried in the stacks at the library or grabbing a latte on campus, she enjoys a good challenge, which is why she started carving watermelons.

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Photo courtesy of Adrienne Scrima

I had the chance to catch up with the Staten Island-native to find out how she got into carving and what’s next for her.

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF. WHEN YOU’RE NOT CARVING WATERMELON, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?

I’m a journalist finishing up my last semester of school. I also have a side business selling four leaf clovers!

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START CARVING WATERMELON?

A few years ago, I saw a carved watermelon online and immediately wanted to try my hand at it. I was decent at carving pumpkins, so it looked like a fun challenge.

WHAT SORT OF CARVINGS DO YOU LIKE TO CREATE?

All my creations have been for events, so I make sure that the watermelon carving fits the occasion. For instance, my designs include a church logo for a barbeque, a “50” for a birthday hangout, and a track shoe for a teammate’s grad party. I’ll note that none of these were commissioned — most weren’t even expected by the guests.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WATERMELON CARVING?

Probably my first one because I still get flack about the circumstances of its making. I have a twin sister and so we shared a high school graduation party. On the day of the party, I spent about four hours making the watermelon while she labored to set up for the party. She wasn’t happy about that.

WHEN IT COMES TO EATING WATERMELON, DO YOU PREFER CHUNKS OR WEDGES?

Definitely chunks!

WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AS A CARVER? WHAT WILL YOU BE CARVING THIS YEAR?

We’ll see what I get invited to! Once I figure out the occasion, I’ll try to make a fitting design while attempting something new.

UP NEXT: A FASCINATING AND DELICIOUS HISTORY LESSON

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FRANKEN-MELON’S SPOOKY CARVING CONTEST

October 7th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

With just a few short weeks to Halloween, all of the last-minute fun of decorating and preparing is now upon us. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and each year I do something that combines my love of watermelon and the age-old Halloween tradition of carving. Last year, my jack-o-melon was a success, and I was surprised at how easy it was to carve. 1

As it turns out, watermelons are actually a little more challenging to carve than pumpkins. While they are easier to slice, pumpkins are hollower than watermelons, which explains why you see more pumpkins carved than watermelons.

I’m always up for a good challenge, especially since I can eat whatever I dig out from the watermelon! This month on the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s Facebook page, we want to see your spookiest Halloween watermelon carving! Send us a photo of your scary watermelon carving – on Facebook OR here on the blog – and we’ll choose one carving at random to win a $25 gift card. To enter, email a photo of your carving to contests@watermelon.org.

For inspiration, check out this Frankenstein carving that I’m going to make this year for my trick-or-treaters. Maybe someone can carve a Mrs. Frankenstein for my melon-brained buddy.

REMEMBER: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our October prize — the watermelon welcome mat — so comment as often as you’d like!

UP NEXT: WATERMELON CRAB CAKES

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HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS NAKED WATERMELON?

September 15th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

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When I friend emailed me a link to a video featuring a “naked watermelon,” I wasn’t quite sure what to think. In fact, I began to wonder if I should even click on the link. But curiosity got the best of me, so I clicked…and I’m glad I did.

The bizarre creation you see above is the “naked watermelon” featured in the video below. It’s a neat party trick that basically involves removing the rind from a watermelon to create a smooth inner core of delicious red watermelon flesh. That core is then placed inside a second, hollowed out watermelon rind. All that’s left to do after that is take your crazy creation to a party and bask in the look of amazement on your guests’ faces.

Honestly, I’ve got mixed emotions about this trick. The image of a naked watermelon is somehow fascinating and a little unsettling at the same time, but I’m definitely going to give this a try in the very near future!

UP NEXT: The man behind the watermelon car

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AND THE 2015 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST WINNERS ARE…

August 31st, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

I cannot lie – this year’s submissions totally blew me away! I wrote last year that 2014 was the most successful contest to date, but I think this year took the watermelon cake.

Between the sheer number of entries this year, I was most impressed by the creativity and selection. Every submission was unique in its own way, which made it very difficult to choose a first, second and third place winner in each category. In reality, I’d like to award you all for your submissions, but that’s why I’m not a judge; it’s too much pressure to pick just one winner!

To recap, the judges’ criteria included not just the quality of the carving itself, but other factors like staging, the creativity of the concept, and the attention to detail paid by the carver. Originality was a key factor, too. In other words, did the carver go above and beyond by showing the judges something they might not have seen before?

This year’s carving categories included Most Elegant Carving, Best Fruit Basket Carving, Funniest Carving,   Best Animal Carving, and Star-Spangled Carving. If anyone has any ideas for categories for next year’s contest, please leave a comment on this entry.

So, without further ado, I’m proud to announce the winners of the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest:

MOST ELEGANT CARVING

Beginner
SZAMBELAN - Elegant - Face

FIRST PLACE: Alex Szambelan

SECOND PLACE: Deepa Kaul

Experienced

PANAYIOTA - Elegant - Wedding

FIRST PLACE: Panayiota Thoma

SECOND PLACE: Aneta Lekas

THIRD PLACE: Catalina Feng

BEST FRUIT BASKET

Beginner

HO - Basket - Basket

FIRST PLACE: Lilian Ho

SECOND PLACE: Donna Lipscomb

THIRD PLACE: Donna Lipscomb

Experienced

LEKAS - Basket - Floral

FIRST PLACE: Aneta Lekas

SECOND PLACE: April Schmidt

THIRD PLACE: Ethel Darwin

FUNNIEST CARVING

Beginner

CARVER - Funny - Tooth

FIRST PLACE: David Carver

SECOND PLACE: Donna Lipscomb

Experienced

DIETRICK - Funny - Monkey

FIRST PLACE: Sue Dietrick

SECOND PLACE: Areerat Wancowicz

THIRD PLACE: Laura Poulsen

BEST ANIMAL CARVING

Beginner

KIERAT - Animal - Peacock

FIRST PLACE: Kate Kierat

SECOND PLACE: Kate Kierat

THIRD PLACE: David Carver

Experienced

MUSCAT - Animal - Giraffe

FIRST PLACE: Simon Muscat

SECOND PLACE: Aneta Lekas

THIRD PLACE: Sue Dietrick

STAR-SPANGLED CARVING

LIPSCOMB - Star - Flag

Beginner

FIRST PLACE: Donna Lipscomb

Experienced

FLORES - Star - Eagle

FIRST PLACE: Rose Flores

SECOND PLACE: Rose Flores

THIRD PLACE: Laura Poulsen

PEOPLE’S CHOICE

Beginner

KAUL - Elegant - Elegant

FIRST PLACE: Deepa Kaul

Experienced

WANCOWICZ - Elegant - Snow White

FIRST PLACE: Areerat Wancowicz

JUDGE’S CHOICE

Beginner

KIERAT - Animal - Peacock

FIRST PLACE: Kate Kierat

Experienced

POULSEN - Animal - Lion

FIRST PLACE: Laura Poulsen

Congratulations to our 2015 Carving Contest winners and thank you to everyone who participated!

UP NEXT: Make watermelon pops with this cool prize!

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HAPPY NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY: WHICH OF THESE FIVE THINGS WILL YOU DO TO CELEBRATE?

August 3rd, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

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It’s finally here! I’ve waited 364 days to wish you all a very happy National Watermelon Day! Looking back on the last year on the blog, I’ve seen, tasted and created some amazing and delicious watermelon-related items. If there’s one thing I had to pick that I am most proud of, I’d have to say keeping up with my New Year’s resolution (to prepare more meals with watermelon) is at the top of the list.

I’m not a quitter in the least, but I admit that I usually get distracted (one of the side effects of being a dad to a young daughter). This year, I’m glad to have made it through more than half the year by sharing my fun, new creations right here on the blog. So, on this National Watermelon Day, I’m going to continue sharing with these five things you can do to celebrate today watermelon-style:

– Whip up some creamy watermelon sherbert. It’s the beginning of August, so the summer heat is in full swing. Stay cool with this awesome recipe.22

– Turn your kids into watermelon ninjas. I stumbled across the photo on the right years ago, and it still makes me chuckle. I sure wouldn’t want to run into that kid in an alley!

– Dig in the old-fashioned way. I adopted the old half-a-melon-and-a-spoon method from my grandfather, and it’s still the easiest, most satisfying way to enjoy my favorite fruit.

– Get fit – with watermelon! It’s never too late to get healthy, and what better way to do so than with the nutritious watermelon? Nutritionist Elizabeth Somer has some great insight about its many health benefits and how to stay healthy.

– Carve it out. If you hurry, you can still submit your carved creation to the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest (it ends at 11:59 p.m. tonight!).

 UP NEXT: This month’s prize

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NATIONAL WATERMELON PRIZE #3: WATERMELON CARVING BOOK

July 29th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

For this month’s final prize, I had some different ideas bouncing around about what it should be. Then I started to think about July coming to a close and how half of the year is basically gone. The close of July usually marks the end of my favorite month, as July is National Watermelon Month. I don’t get too discouraged, though, as the next month is just as fun and just as watermelon-filled.

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Speaking of things coming to an end, the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest will come to a close on August 3, which means this weekend is the last one for creating and submitting those carvings. To enter yours, visit the official carving contest page. (Don’t forget, you get extra judging credit for up to five additional carvings, so feel free to enter more than once!)

Because I’m officially in a watermelon-carving mood, one lucky commenter on this post will win Chef Lonnie Lynch’s “Easy Watermelon Carvings” book ($7)! With this easy-to-follow instruction guide to carving watermelon, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own masterpiece. And, who knows, you could be the 2016 watermelon carving champion! Leave a comment below and I’ll choose one as the winner!

UP NEXT: New Year’s Resolution update (making watermelon pizza)

Remember: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our THREE weekly National Watermelon Month July prizes, so comment as often as you’d like! 

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Don’t forget to enter our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest! We still need plenty of entries in the “Beginner” category, so all you new carvers should definitely enter for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on August 3. There are $4,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the official contest web page for categories, judging criteria and how to enter!

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HOW ARE YOUR CARVING CONTEST ENTRIES COMING?

July 27th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

With the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest drawing to a close (enter your carving here before August 3, at 11: p.m.), I thought it would be a good time to take a look back at some of my own carvings from the past 12 months.

When I scoured the What About Watermelon archives to see which carvings I had created between August 2014 and today, I was shocked to discover that my creations totaled only two. TWO! The bat and Stegosaurus you see below represent the body of my work during that period, which made me realize that I need to carve more often.

With that in mind, I’m currently accepting suggestions for what I should carve in August and September. If you’ve got any ideas, leave a comment!

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I carved this bat “jack-o-melon” in October of last year as an alternative to the usual Halloween pumpkin carving. It was a relatively simple carving, with the only difficulties being the wings. They were hard to carve to make sure they were exactly the same size and shape (I’m a stickler for that type of stuff), and they weren’t easy to affix to the side of the bat. The toothpicks weren’t quite doing their job, but it all finally worked out.

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My first carving of the 2015 season was the deliciously terrifying Stegosaurus you see above. On a simplicity scale, this one was only about a two. The body was super simple to make. The only real challenge was carving the head and tail, which weren’t all that hard to do.

UP NEXT: Our final National Watermelon Month prize

Remember: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our THREE weekly National Watermelon Month July prizes, so comment as often as you’d like! 

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Don’t forget to enter our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest! We still need plenty of entries in the “Beginner” category, so all you new carvers should definitely enter for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on August 3. There are $4,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the official contest web page for categories, judging criteria and how to enter!

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SECOND SLICE: HOW TO STORE A WATERMELON CARVING

July 14th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

With our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest in full swing, I thought it might be a good time to revisit this helpful Q&A about how to keep that carving looking fresh. If you haven’t already entered this year’s carving contest, visit the official contest page for rules, categories and prize information!

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SHIM ASKS: I was wondering how I should store a carved watermelon. I am planning to make either the turtle, shark or sailboat carving seen on your website for a party on Sunday morning. Should it be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature once carved? Should I wrap it, or can I leave it open? Most importantly, how many days before the event can I carve it? Thanks! k

All good questions, Shim. Speaking from experience (and the experience of others), your carving should be created as close to the event as possible. If you can carve it on the day of the event, that would be best, but the day before should be fine, too. You definitely don’t want to carve it three or four days beforehand. I’ve seen some beautiful watermelon carvings (including several of my own) after three or four days, and they definitely didn’t look as pretty as they had.

After you create your carving, the refrigerator is the best place to store it. I asked our resident carving expert, Chef Joe, about storage and he said moisture is the key to keeping an edible carving looking fresh. Chef Joe keeps his carvings wrapped in damp paper towels while storing them in the fridge, and he suggested you do the same.

Hope this helps! Have fun with your carving, and don’t forget to send me a few pictures!

UP NEXT: Our second National Watermelon Month prize

Remember: All comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our THREE weekly National Watermelon Month July prizes, so comment as often as you’d like! 

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Don’t forget to enter our 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest! We still need plenty of entries in the “Beginner” category, so all you new carvers should definitely enter for a chance to win. The deadline for entries is 11:59 PM on August 3. There are $4,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the official contest web page for categories, judging criteria and how to enter!

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