Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Election's Over

The pumpkins and analysts congratulate all the winners, particularly Kay Hagan, whose win was predicted on October 24 by The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll.

On this site, we will continue to post photos and video from the actual Crossroads Pumpkin Fest, one of North Carolina's premier events. And we hope you'll mark your calendars for the first Saturday in November when the pumpkin chunkin' and downtown street festival is held.

In the short time this blog has been live, it has been visited by people in 24 states and 8 foreign countries. And CNN even checked us out!

I invite you to check out this recap video.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Waiting ....

In 2004, The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll garnered a whopping 80 percent accuracy. This time, pumpkin analysts predict a 66 percent accuracy, but only time will tell. The reason for the difference in numbers is that we chucked fewer "races" this time because of rain. We said publically the weather was "the dampening effect of the economy."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Press Release - Pumpkins Predict McCrory to Win

STATESVILLE, NC – According to the pumpkins, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory is predicted to be North Carolina’s next governor. In a pumpkin chuckin’ held in Statesville on Saturday, the McCrory pumpkin narrowly defeated that of Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue by 2 yards.

They flew through the sky and splattered 81 and 79 feet, respectively.

The event was part of the 6th Annual Crossroads Pumpkin Fest that was held on Saturday, November 1. The street festival included a pumpkin chunkin’ where catapults and trebuchets hurled the seasonal gourd in a regulated contest. Teams came from the Statesville area and Lenoir.

The contest began on Friday, October 24 with The Great Heads of State Exit Poll, the name of a media preview designed to promote the street festival. At that event, pumpkin heads drawn to represent political candidates were hurled to predict winners of this year’s election.

Only 4 yards separated the winning McCain/Palin “ticket” from the Democrats.

In North Carolina’s hotly contested U.S. Senate race, State Senator Kay Hagan soundly defeated incumbent Elizabeth Dole.

And the governor’s race tied, with pumpkins landing 86 feet from their starting point. So on Saturday, the chuck-off was held to determine a prediction.

In 2004, the Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll garnered an 80 percent accuracy. Pumpkin analysts expect the 2008 event to be 66 percent accurate.

The difference in the numbers is that more pumpkins were tossed in 2004 than in 2008 because of a “dampened economy,” which translates to a soaking rain that cancelled the October 24 contest.

Organizers are eagerly awaiting the real national vote to see how accurate the pumpkin predictions are. And so are people outside of North Carolina.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Photo Gallery

As soon as I got ahold of the pumpkins, they immediately had to go on display at the media preview. They were painted with water soluable tempra paint. It washes out of clothing - and also runs onto hands. So some of these portraits are smeared. Others were protected. It's amazing to see how talented these 7th and 8th graders are!

Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx wasn't on the sample ballot I had, but she does
represent a portion of Iredell County. Democrat Roy Carter is running against her.

Republican incumbant Steve Troxler is going up against Democrat Ronnie Ansley for the North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture. This being an agriculture event, I had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Ansley and a representative from Mr. Troxler's office. They already had speaking engagements elsewhere, but really wanted to attend. We'll see on Nov. 1 which one will win!

Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory's pumpkin head tied 86 yards with Lt. Governor Beverly Perdue. They're running for governor. Her head split wide open. We left it for the deer. Pat's head made it, but the battle shows all over his face!

Liddy Dole's head sailed, but didn't make it as far as Kay Hagan's. And you'll note that the real Kay Hagan WANTED her pumpkin head - so scroll back down to the post to see how her husband responded when it was handed to him!

Sarah Palin's lipstick didn't smear during the entire catapulting process. But, John McCain really took a beating! They survived to win the event.

Joe Biden and Barack Obama made it through the pumpkin chunkin' pretty much unscathed, but still lost by a narrow margin. North Carolina is a swing state - will this prediction come true?

Bob Crumley (R) is going up against incumbant Roy Cooper(D) for the NC Attorney General post.

I was unable to get photos of all the local candidates to pass along to the students. Since it rained on our event, the names on the bottoms of the pumpkins are somewhat difficult to read.

Press Release: Art Students Learn About Politics Through Pumpkin Fest Project

STATESVILLE, NC – Art students at the American Renaissance Middle School in Statesville learned first-hand a little about the political process this past week. They were chosen to draw political candidates’ faces on pumpkins for a pumpkin chunkin’ event designed to “predict” the outcome of this year’s election.
On Friday, October 24, a media preview was held to promote the Statesville Crossroads Pumpkin Fest. The idea was to catapult pumpkins drawn up to look like candidates. Those that landed the farthest “won.”
“A similar event was held in 2004 that drew an increased number of people to the festival,” said media preview organizer Greta Lint. She is providing public relations services for the Statesville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “We call the media preview The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll. The results get the media’s attention – which translates to promotion for the street festival,” she explained.
“In 2004, we used a local characteurist. This time, we had an opportunity to provide local students with a chance to learn how to draw on a sphere and feel involved in the political process,” she added.
Principal Steve Gay and art instructor Ashely Bell paved the way for the students’ involvement. Lint provided thirty 3 – 3 ½ pound pumpkins, photos, material for blue and red capes and a sample Iredell County ballot.
Bell said the class was very excited when she explained the project.
“Most of them were familiar with presidential, vice-presidential and governor races,” she said. “Some students personally knew some of the county commissioners. But, they learned what the red and blue stood for, as well as what the term incumbent means. And, they learned that a third person was running for president and governor!”
But when it came to the actual drawing, there were some challenges.
“It was difficult to get for them to draw on a non-flat spherical form,” said Bell. “Even though I washed them, it was hard to get a black permanent marker to adhere.” She continued that it took most of the students two days to draw and paint the heads. They used tempera paints because it easily washes out of clothing.
“Students said the Obama, Palin and McCain faces were the easiest ones to draw,” she explained.” But as in all portrait work, the nose and mouth were the most difficult.”
Even though the political pumpkin chunkin’ event was held on a teachers’ work day, some of the students and parents attended. After the McCain pumpkin flew out of the catapult and landed 81 yards away, young artist Morgan Dixon picked it up and reviewed the damage. “It was tough. Didn’t bust.” When she learned that this event is held only in years with a general election, she was disappointed. According to organizer Joel Leonard, she was encouraged that perhaps she could help build the trebuchet at Mitchell Community College and that her siblings will be old enough to paint the candidates in 2012.
The students’ pumpkins will be on display during the Crossroads Pumpkin Fest on Saturday, November 1 in downtown Statesville.

Hagan's Head Hand Delivered

When performing The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll, a common question by the media was what was the reaction from the candidates regarding having their images painted on pumpkins.

Our candid response was mixed. When researching for pictures so the 7th and 8th grade artists from the American Renaissance School could paint an accurate image, we contacted all of the candidates. And yes, there were some who did not respond to our request for pictures and some were confused and did not understand our purpose despite our explanation. However, there were a few who instantly got the humor and got as much of a chuckle if not more than we did.

One of those was Senator Hagan and her team. In fact they had contacted us and wanted her pumpkin head if it survived the exit poll. So when Joel Leonard encountered Senator Hagan's husband at the Piedmont Triad Partnership Annual meeting, he went back out to his car and was able to present Mr Chip Hagan his wife's head. That impromptu ceremony last night caused numerous head scratching and consternation by some of the attendees.
But with all of the serious issues that our leaders have to grapple, it is great to know that they can have fun with this crazy prediction method. Most importantly, Mr. Hagan marvelled that the students were able to build trebuchets and get excited about engineering and physics in the process.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

More Airtime for The Great Heads of Statesville Exit Poll

This event continues to be launched into the blogosphere and other media outlets around the world. SkillTV, an online TV show featured the benefits of student participation and skill development. Regardless of the accuracy of the Exit Poll the most important outcome of this event is that numerous future workers were turned onto developing engineering skills. With the exodus of the boomer generation this is very important activity and actually much more important that predicting the election.
For more info