By Maddy Vitale
Ava Spencer carefully lined up her building materials. She studied her floor plan and began her architectural masterpiece.
Her building materials were French fries. Her floor plan was in her head and her foundation was a paper plate.
“They fell down and I had to start over,” explained Ava, 5, of her castle of French fries. “Then I had to build a moat, so the dragons couldn’t get in.”
The little girl who was on vacation in Ocean City with her family, had some stiff competition in the French fry sculpting contest at the Music Pier in Ocean City. The event was part of the weekly Wacky Wednesday celebration.
At the end of the playful event, Ava took home a winning ribbon for her age group. But the activity was more about fun for kids and adults, who showcased their true artistic ability, albeit with a mushy, mess of a favored junk food.
Michael Hartman, the city’s director of special events, told the participants at the start of the contest, “Remember, the French fries are not fully cooked. Do not eat them.”
This is the second summer of Wacky Wednesdays. This year’s season kicked off June 27 with salt water taffy sculpting and continued July 4 with a pie-eating contest. It is one of Hartman’s creations.
Hartman explained after the French fry sculpting contest, that he merged two weeks of silly events in the summer into every Wednesday, so each week kids can enjoy goofy, imaginative, activities.
“It is an opportunity to draw people to the Boardwalk, the rides, miniature golf and other activities for kids,” Hartman noted. “You can’t put a price tag on a family having fun.”
When choosing a family vacation, it is just one more way Ocean City stands out as a family resort, he added.
Hartman said every time a kid who participated in Wacky Wednesday events walks by the Music Pier, he or she will remember the great time they had and hopefully share it with others.
Amy Miller and her family were on vacation in Ocean City from Gilbertsville, P.a. The family drives down to the resort about four times a summer.
They make it a point to be around for Wednesdays.
“We try to come down for as many Wacky Wednesdays as possible,” Miller said. “I love that Ocean City is so family oriented. It is so geared for children.”
Miller’s children, Memphis, Jayden, Anthony and Shailyn, were all in the contest.
The youngest, Memphis, 3, took home a winning ribbon for her “spider.”
“I thought it was a crab,” Miller said with a laugh of her daughter’s creation.
Memphis said she wanted to make a bug. And she did – with lots of legs.
The little girl laughed when she was asked how many legs the spider had.
Brady Lasher, 10, from West Chester, P.a. vacationing in Ocean City with his family, gave his 4-year-old sister Emerson a little guidance in her French fry sculpture.
“It’s fun,” Brady said.
Mom, Lauren Lasher, pointed to her other daughter, Harper, 7, who was also in the contest.
“She is making a laughing emoji,” Lasher said. “I think it is so cute. We come to so many of these events in Ocean City. Michael Hartman is amazing.”
Even some teens participated in the zany contest.
Cousins Mathew Mulholland, 19, of Ohio, and Joey Dunne, 14, of Randolph, N.J., vacationing in Ocean City, decided they had the skills to be great French fry artists.
Mulholland is an Eagle Scout and his cousin is becoming one.
Their family joked they could build that the two could do anything they set their minds to.
“We aren’t sure what we want to build yet,” Mulholland said, as he and Joey Dunne examined their heap of fries.
At the end of the competition, the kids and adults, picked up their works of art and dumped them in the garbage.
“Great job everyone,” Hartman shouted into the microphone. “Enjoy your Wednesday!”