Market hosts melon mania

Published 12:04 am Sunday, August 29, 2010

NATCHEZ — Mary Baker likes to use all of her melons.

So when she makes a fruit basket, the basket will probably be a hollowed-out watermelon.

Baker, of Cannonsburg, put her watermelon creativity skills to the test Saturday when she took home the first prize the watermelon carving contest hosted by the Alcorn State University Extension Program at the Natchez Farmer’s Market Saturday.

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“I just started trying to do it out of curiosity,” Baker said.

Baker’s creation that won the contest was a watermelon basket, complete with handle, filled with watermelon pieces. It was perched atop an upside down cake stand.

“You can do a lot more when you have all the melon scoops,” she said. “I did that one just with stuff I had with me here.”

Baker said she enjoys carving watermelons for social occasions and family gatherings. Baker said when she is making a display for a special occasion, she will use different types of melons to fill her watermelon basket.

None of her creations ever look exactly the same, she said.

“I like that it is free-form,” she said. “When I was working on the one for today, someone asked me where my pattern was, and I just said, ‘It is in my head.’”

Watermelon entries were judged on creativity, design and originality.

Helen Brooks, market manager, said this was the first watermelon carving contest hosted by the market. She said in the past they have hosted children’s pumpkin carving contests and wanted to take advantage of the summer watermelons for a similar contest.

The annual pumpkin carving contest will be Oct. 23.