On a perfect autumn day, frightening things were happening in Byblos.
Ghoulish and ghostly faces started to appear, with wicked grins and fiendish eyes, and as the winds changed, candles flickered and strange shapes danced across the ancient walls of the Old Souk.
All was not as it seemed however, as hordes of pumpkin-carving enthusiasts had descended on the Alice Eddé boutique to take part in the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving competition! Many had returned to try their luck in 2016, but there were lots of new faces and a record number of entrants.
“This tradition was an event we children looked forward to every year in the States. Today I am sharing it with the children of Byblos. And it gives me much joy to see the same fascination we experienced. Truly East meets West!” said Alice Eddé.
As a witch-doll and raffia scarecrows looked on, and dried leaves swirled, a mixture of enthusiastic adults and creative children drew, scraped, carved and sculpted their pumpkins into all manner of terrifying faces, whilst surrounded by onlookers who couldn’t tear themselves away.
Chefs (with power tools – a frightening thought on its own!), were on hand to help entrants to achieve the look they desired, and as this was an Alice Eddé event, there was no waste… the pumpkin ‘entrails’ were carefully collected to be used in delicious and healthy recipes the next day.
Participants and supporters were treated to spooky seasonal delicacies that included pumpkin kibbe, ‘witch fingers’ made of grissini with almond ‘nails’, mozzarella bites, and spider cookies, all washed down with a fiery pumpkin, carrot, orange and ginger juice ‘shot’.
Alphonse, a participant, declared that he enjoyed very much the event and considered that the atmosphere was great, lively and friendly, and can’t wait to take part in other activities organized by Alice Eddé, and as original as this one.
Competition was fierce, and there may have been some parental assistance in helping the younger contenders with their creations, but the high profile judges agreed that the passion was clear to see…
1st prize – Anthony Issa, with a sideways lying, grimacing pumpkin with slits for eyes
2nd prize – Sasha, Mathew and Sarah Khoury, who jointly created a truly see-through face
3rd prize – Nour Hamzeh, who managed to add a patriotic Lebanese flag to his creation, whilst also accessorising with a hat!
A huge thank you to this years’ judges:
Nabil Basbous, sculptor
Patricia Khoder, journalist from L’Orient le Jour
Feng Yu Jie, 2015’s winner