Watermelon shortage averted ahead of Grey Cup
Published Friday, November 27, 2009 3:09PM EST
Saskatchewan football fanatics can still be melonheads, thanks to one grocery store chain that took steps to ensure they'd have enough fruit to adorn fans' heads this Sunday.
Canada Safeway has put a rush order on 3,000 watermelons to be shipped to Calgary stores. The move is meant to satisfy the appetite of thousands of Saskatchewan Roughriders fans in town for the Grey Cup, who want to wear traditional carved melon helmets during Sunday's Grey Cup game against the Montreal Alouettes.
"Everything in our warehouse system is being shipped out to Safeway stores in Calgary," Safeway spokesman John Graham said Thursday.
The melons from California are expected to arrive in stores on Friday.
"We normally wouldn't anticipate such a spike of demand in watermelons," Graham told The Canadian Press, dismissing any talk of emergency melon distribution centres.
Calgary has already turned Roughrider green due to the influx of Saskatchewan fans who arrived ahead of the big game.
"Probably the biggest city in Saskatchewan now is going to be Calgary," Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco told Canada AM on Friday from Calgary.
"There's melonheads everywhere," Fiacco said while wearing a Roughriders jersey and scarf.
"It's kind of neat to see and it speaks volumes to what the Saskatchewan Roughriders means to our province."
Graham from Safeway said the skyrocketing demand for watermelons in Calgary is similar to the increase that is seen during regular Roughrider home games in Regina, about an eight-hour drive away.
American football fans in Wisconsin have a similar food-on-their-head tradition with the "cheesehead" fans of the Green Bay Packers wearing foam hats shaped like Swiss cheese.
But Roughriders fans accept no imitations, and scoop out the flesh of real melons and place the shell on their noggins during the game.
Saskatchewan and Montreal will face off against each other for the cup for the first time on Sunday.
Fiacco and his Grey Cup rival, Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay, have entered into a traditional wager over the outcome of the game. The loser in these type of friendly bets typically wears the jersey of the winning team. But Tremblay and Fiacco have put a charitable twist on it this year.
The mayor of the losing team will buy season tickets to the winning team's games, and the winning mayor will donate them to a charity of their choice.
"The Montreal Alouettes are on a mission, they're ready and the fans are ready to celebrate on Dec. 2," Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay said on Canada AM.
With files from The Canadian Press