Melon heads

By Andree Lau, CBCnews.ca

Grey Cup fever has gripped Calgary, as has a run on watermelons, as the championship game approaches on Sunday afternoon.

Fervent Saskatchewan Roughriders fans have been snapping them up — to turn them into helmets as a show of support for their team.

Saskatchewan fans have been known to do some elaborate carving for the perfect melon helmet. (Kim Orynik)

Some stores in Calgary have already sold out of watermelons this week, so the Safeway chain had to place a special order, sourcing melons big enough for, well, human melons.

No one really knows the exact origin of this peculiar practice. Some say it started at a Riders game in Winnipeg in 2001; others say a guy got hot one day and stuck a melon on his head. A few Edmonton Eskimos fans lay claim to it as well, saying the melon helmets first appeared at the West Division final in 1997.

CFL.ca has a great video tracking its history and also some pointers on how to make the perfect melon helmet.

Norm Peel, an accountant from Regina who has made more than 100 helmets, also has a how-to posting here.

Important pointers:

  • Choose the greenest melon.
  • Cut out a triangle for air flow as the scooped-out melon dries upside down.
  • Don't forget to cut out holes for your ears.
Riders fans show support for their team by plopping a melon on their melons. (CBC)

Watermelons are also handy for that other Saskatchewan tradition: yukkaflux (also spelled yukaflux, yuccaflux, yuckaflux, and yukka flux).

The most basic recipe is to add vodka (and/or whatever hard liquor is around) to a watermelon through a hole, and then capping it back up and leaving it to sit for a day or two for the fruit to absorb all the alcohol.

Cut open and enjoy.

Other variations include cutting up watermelon, strawberries, oranges and other fruit and marinating them in hard liquor in a large cooler, or injecting fruit with syringes of vodka.

Happy Grey Cup weekend!