Saskatchewan melonheads get help from grocery chain

WINNIPEG — Have no fear Melonheads — Canada Safeway is rushing hundreds of watermelons to Calgary from California for Saskatchewan Roughrider fans to carve and wear to this weekend’s Grey Cup.

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WINNIPEG — Have no fear Melonheads — Canada Safeway is rushing hundreds of watermelons to Calgary from California for Saskatchewan Roughrider fans to carve and wear to this weekend’s Grey Cup.

And Winnipeggers have little to fear either if they want to make a Roughrider fashion statement or just eat a watermelon. Safeway has no plans to yank the fruit from their Winnipeg store displays to send them west.

“Everything in our warehouse system is being shipped out to Safeway stores in Calgary,” Safeway spokesman John Graham said on Thursday.

“We have not pulled any watermelon out of our stores. But we have put in a rush order to our supplier in California and they’ll be in hopefully (Friday).”

Similar to the Cheeseheads who wear wedges of cheese on their heads to cheer on the Green Bay Packers football team in the United States, Melonheads carve and gut watermelons and pop them on their melons.

But while Cheeseheads wear cheese actually made of hard foam, Melonheads wear the real McCoy, sometimes with a cloth liner, other times not.

“We normally wouldn’t anticipate such a spike of demand in watermelons,” Graham said.

“We will have 3,000 watermelons… We’re not setting up any emergency headquarters to get them out — they’ll just come to one of our stores.”

Graham said it’s similar to the spike in watermelon sales during Roughrider home games in Regina during the regular CFL season. “We want to be well prepared for the demand,” he said.

As for whether fans of any other football team — including the Winnipeg Blue Bombers — will come up with their own head gear in future, Graham says:

“I don’t know if it’s a trend that others might pick up on and want to wear fruits or vegetables on their heads. When Saskatchewan won to get into the Grey Cup, we knew by Monday by the calls,we knew we had to do something.”

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