pumpkins: contest highlights worker skills

HANAPEPE — What is that slip of paper that comes with the Lappert’s ice cream?

It’s a ballot not only to cast votes for the best Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream & Coffee employee-created pumpkins, but for patrons to enter a contest for a chance to win a tub of Lappert’s pumpkin-crunch ice cream.

Wednesday marked the day that Lappert’s employees had to finish their pumpkin creations for the Annual People’s Choice Pumpkin Judging.

Entries went on display at Lappert’s Hawaii Ice Cream & Coffee stores throughout the state, and from Princeville to Hanapepe on Kaua’i.

“It took me until last night,” said Brad Chikahiro, an employee at the Hanapepe store, as he applied final touches to his creation that is masked by Latex and features blood flowing down the face of his pumpkin.

“It doesn’t have a name, but it took about a week to plan it out and get it done,” Chikahiro said, as other employees huddled around to get a better look.

Between now and the end of Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31, shoppers at Lappert’s have an opportunity to view the creative talents of Lappert’s employees, and vote on their favorite, with the possibility of being winners themselves.

Ballots will be collected from the stores, and in a drawing on Tuesday, Nov. 1, of all the ballots, a winner of a tub of Lappert’s pumpkin crunch ice cream will be chosen.

“We’ve been doing this for at least eight years,” said a Lappert’s office worker who came out to view the menagerie. “It’s always a lot of fun.”

During the Halloween promotion, Lappert’s leaders purchased about 95 pumpkins to supply all of the outlets on Kaua’i, O’ahu, and Maui, so all of the employees could have a chance to be seen.

“We had about 57 pumpkins on O’ahu, and that includes the airport Host restaurant,” the office leaders noted. “Maui had eight pumpkins, Hanapepe had 13, the Coconut Marketplace had four, three went to Princeville, and there are 10 at the Koloa location.”

Tehani Vinhasa, another Hanapepe employee, explained that there are several categories that employees can compete in. These include the grand prize, most spooky, most creative, and the people’s choice.

However, she said that if you win in one category, that disqualifies you from other categories.

Vinhasa’s creation, a silver-and-black affair, took her several days to finish, she said. “At first, it was going to be all silver.”

But the finished product has smart black shadowing set off by a headband of feathers.

Vinhasa said employees get a Lappert’s gift certificate just for entering, and more prizes if they win in their categories.

The Annual People’s Choice Pumpkin Judging starts the holiday offerings for the Lappert’s chain of ice cream stores.

Their next promotion featuring the talents of their employees will be the Third Annual Gingerbread House campaign, which should be showing up at the stores some time during the second week of December.

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