VIDALIA, Ga. — Both the grand prize and the first prize in the Vidalia Onion Committee's Vidalia Onion/Shrek display contest went to employees of Nashville, Ga.-based Harvey's Supermarkets.
Grand prize winner Laina Chastain, assistant produce manager at a Harvey's store in Macon, Ga., won a three-day, two-night vacation for four to Orlando, Fla., including theme park tickets. First place winner Melissa Price, produce manager at a Moultrie, Ga., Harvey's store, won a $1,000 cash prize.
Chastain's grand prize-winning display included a hand-made castle with Shrek looking out an upper window. There was also a grill included in the display.
“People like to grill Vidalia onions. All through the season, we have people looking for Vidalias,” Chastain told SN. “They're one of our best sellers.” Produce manager Cathy Harden at the Macon store said Chastain built the entire, 20-foot long display herself.
“I used watermelon bins to build the castle and made the roof out of onion bag netting,” said Chastain, a long-time Shrek fan.
Harvey's, with 70 stores, is a division of Delhaize-owned Food Lion, Salisbury, N.C.
Second place, with a prize of $500 cash, went to Paul Pogrebneak, produce merchandiser at Pennington Quality Market, Pennington, N.J.
Five third place winners received $100 cash. They're Joseph Franklin, manager, Marsh Supermarkets, Greenfield, Ind.; Randall Havens, produce manager at a Bruno's, Mobile, Ala.; Paul Vandermark, produce manager, Food City, Knoxville, Tenn.; Lequitte Perry, produce manager, Food City, Louisa, Ky.; and Josh Bunch, produce manager, Food City, Knoxville, Tenn.
Forty honorable mention prizes were also awarded for excellent displays built by produce managers at a long list of retailers, including Publix Super Markets, Hy-Vee Food Stores and Piggly Wiggly.
“We were excited that a couple of large chains had blanket participation, making the contest a competition among the stores,” said Wendy Brannen, VOC's executive director.
Beginning in April, produce managers were invited to build the most original, eye-catching Vidalia onion display incorporating Shrek. The contest resulted from a partnership between the Vidalia Onion Committee and DreamWorks Animation, SKG Inc., to promote the original sweet onion in conjunction with the release of the movie, “Shrek Forever After.”
“Getting kids to eat more Vidalia onions was a major goal of the committee this year,” Brannen said.
The Vidalia Onion Committee was established in 1989 as Federal Marketing Order No. 955, which authorizes research and marketing promotion programs.