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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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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2015 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST: WHICH CARVING WILL GET YOUR PEOPLE’S CHOICE VOTE?

August 17th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

It’s coming down to the wire as the competition for the 2015 Watermelon Carving Championship continues. Today marks the beginning of the People’s Choice voting period. In two short weeks, we will announce all of the carving contest winners.22

Compared to last year’s contest, this year’s contestants are definitely bringing their A-game. I’m glad to see that our fans have such talent and skill when it comes to watermelon carving. I guess you could say they really know how to use their ‘melons’ (I’m a better watermelon carver than comedian, I know).

The folks at the National Watermelon Promotion Board have chosen the winners in each category, and now it’s up to YOU to vote for which carvings will win the $250 People’s Choice award for the Beginner and Experienced entries. (If you’d like, check out the official contest judging criteria here.)

To cast your vote, stop by the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest voting page to check out the People’s Choice award contenders, and cast your vote before August 31. We’ll announce the People’s Choice winners, the Judge’s Choice winner AND the category winners on September 8. Good luck to all of the competitors, and may the best carving win!

UP NEXT: Growing the world’s largest watermelon, part two

DON’T FORGET TO CAST YOUR VOTE FOR THE “PEOPLE’S CHOICE” WINNER ON THE OFFICIAL 2015 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST PAGE!

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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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HAPPY NATIONAL WATERMELON MONTH! (HERE’S A PEEK AT WHAT’S IN STORE)

July 1st, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

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First thing’s first: Happy National Watermelon Month! I’ve waited 12 long months to type those words, and the day has finally arrived. Sure, it feels just like any other month — there’s watermelon in my fridge, and I can eat as much of it as I’d like — but July just feels different. It feels special, and it tastes special, too.

I’ve got a lot planned for the blog to help celebrate National Watermelon Month. There will be more prizes than usual — three to be exact. The first will be posted this Friday, and it’s one that I already have, so I can say with certainty that you’ll like it.

This month, I’ll also be writing one of the most fascinating blog entries that I’ve ever featured here on What About Watermelon. It’s about the legendary Bradford watermelon, a watermelon that was apparently so good and so sweet, that men sometimes died to get their hands on it. It’s true! Look for that entry next week, which will include a video that explains the legend.

I’ll be posting a few entries about watermelon carving, along with reminders to enter the 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest before the August 3 deadline. If you haven’t already entered, visit the official contest page for details and instructions.

So stay tuned, because it’s going to be a busy and fun month. Will I eat way more watermelon than I probably should? No, because you can never really eat too much watermelon, right?

UP NEXT: The new Watermelon website

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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THE 2015 WATERMELON CARVING CONTEST HAS ARRIVED!

June 15th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

National Watermelon Month is just over two weeks away, which means it’s time to kick off our Sixth Annual Watermelon Carving Contest. This year’s contest will be similar to the 2014 contest, but with a few key differences:Picture1

  1. ENTERING IS SIMPLER – The National Watermelon Promotion Board has created a handy webpage that allows you to easily upload photos and entry information.
  2. MORE PRIZES – Each category will be separated into a group for beginners and a group for experienced carvers. Each sub-category of competitors will feature a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prize.
  3. A “JUDGE’S CHOICE” AWARD – The fans have voted on a “People’s Choice” award in the past (and will again this year), but we’ve added a “Judge’s Choice” award, too.
  4. JUDGING CRITERIA – To help guide your carvings and let you know how each carving will be judged, we’ve created a judging criteria sheet, which can be downloaded here.

HOW TO ENTER

The deadline for entries is August 4th. Like I mentioned above, the new web page makes entering this year’s carving contest easier than ever before. You’ll need at least two photos of your carving – one photo of your carving, and one photo with you holding or standing next to your carving.

As always, you can enter more than one carving. In fact, the judges will award extra credit for each additional carving you submit. You can get credit for up to five additional carvings, but feel free to enter as many carvings as you’d like.

CATEGORIES

Below are the five categories in this year’s contest. Feel free to check out the carvings on the National Watermelon Promotion Board website for inspiration.

  1. Most Elegant Carving
  2. Best Fruit Basket Carving
  3. Funniest Carving
  4. Best Animal Carving
  5. Star-Spangled Carving (Show us your most patriotic carving!)

PRIZES

Each category will be divided into “Beginner” and “Experienced” groups, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes for each group. Prizes include a $150 Amazon.com gift card for 1st place, a $100 Amazon.com gift card for 2nd place, and a $50 Amazon.com gift card for 3rd place.

The first 25 entrants will AUTOMATICALLY receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board as a bonus participation prize. (Limit one cutting board per person.)

After the August 4th deadline, we’ll post EVERY entry on the contest Web page and let the fans choose the “People’s Choice” winner, who will receive a $500 Amazon.com gift card. While the fans are picking their People’s Choice, the judges will be busy reviewing all carvings in order to pick the “Judges’ Choice” winner, who will also receive a $500 Amazon.com gift card.

That’s it, folks! If you have any questions between now and the August 4th deadline, leave a comment here on the blog or e-mail me at jslice@whataboutwatermelon.com. Good luck, and happy carving!

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To enter, visit the official 2015 Watermelon Carving Contest Web page. An outline of judging criteria and official contest rules can also be found on the contest page.

UP NEXT: What activities are on your summer to-do list?

Remember, all comments left on the blog this month are entered to win our June prize – a set of watermelon dip bowls – so comment as often as you’d like! 

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INTERVIEW WITH A WATERMELON CARVER: NAN DYE

May 27th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

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Our May watermelon carver interview is with Nan Dye, who was born in Thailand, but now lives in Knoxville, Tennessee. She’s a dental assistant, which means she’s good with her hands and a natural watermelon carver.

Nan’s carving in the 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest stood out because it was a beautiful rendition of the contest logo (that’s it below). She took home the second place prize in the “Most Elegant Carving” category and has big plans for this year, too.

Nan and I talked briefly recently about carvings and other watermelon topics, and here’s what she had to say:

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

When I’m not carving, I love to spend time with my family. We often go hiking, kayaking, biking, and experiencing all of the beauty that Tennessee has to offer. I also love cooking Thai meals for my friends and family.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START CARVING WATERMELON?

I love to see the positive reaction on people’s faces when they see my watermelon carvings. Their reactions inspire me to carve even more intricate and beautiful carvings.

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WHAT SORT OF CARVINGS DO YOU LIKE TO CREATE?

I don’t have a specific type of carving that I prefer as I am inspired by all objects that I encounter each day. Since April showers bring May flowers, I find that I have been carving more flowers than usual.

WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WATERMELON CARVING?

My most memorable carving was one I did for Chef Aaron McCargo Jr., and was shown on CNN.

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

While both chunks and wedges are great, I prefer to just cut the watermelon in half and dig in with a melon baller!

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

I plan to donate one carving per month to various retirement communities in my area. I also plan on winning the 2015 Watermelon carving contest! :)

UP NEXT: Making watermelon jelly

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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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OUR NEXT WATERMELON PRIZE: THE WATERMELON FAN!

July 14th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

picI went camping this past weekend, and the weather was actually pretty nice. A little warm – maybe even what you’d call “hot” – which is why I was glad my wife convinced me to pack an extra cooler full of drinks and watermelon. You didn’t think I’d go camping without watermelon, did you?

I fell in the creek while I was fishing, which helped me stay relatively cool (even if I looked decidedly uncool while I was flailing around in the water), but I could have used this week’s watermelon prize, too.

It’s a battery-powered, hand-held fan shaped like a little watermelon guy (available on Amazon.com). The fan is perfect for a trip to the ballpark, campsite, or wherever you might need a little breeze to cool you down. Said one Amazon reviewer: “I was very surprised at how much air it puts out. […] I found it good enough to cool me down when I’m having a hot flash.”

I’ll give it away to one commenter chosen at random from all the comments left on the blog this month. Good luck…and, if you go fishing any time in the near future, don’t forget to wear a life jacket.

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Don’t forget to enter your best watermelon carving in our 2014 Watermelon Carving Contest! The deadline for entries is August 4. There are $2,000 in prizes and the first 25 entrants will receive a Dexas watermelon cutting board. Check out the contest kickoff blog entry or official contest web page for categories, entry requirements and more details. 

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