CANstruction Orlando Brings the Canned Corn and Beans

CANstruction Orlando is an annual contest in which local architectural firms build objects out of canned food, battling it out to see who goes to Nationals. All the attention (and food) goes to Second Harvest Food Bank. 

The big question nobody cares about except me because I was a judge this year is 'How is it judged?'. I'll tell you. You're welcome. 

There were seven judges total, including the Publisher of the Orlando Weekly, Graham Jarrett in his tidy shirt and flat front pants, who gathered on a rainy Monday night inside the Fashion Square Mall at 6:30pm. I didn't bring an umbrella, so I arrived wet and sloppy, like my kisses and Thursday nights. 

So this was Monday night, and here I am inside a mall after a full day of work taking photos of muffins and instagramming photos of muffins and talking about muffins to store owners. After all that work, I had the energy to give back to the community. You're welcome, The City Beautiful.

When I arrived, I made eye contact with a tiny adorable bespectacled architect who guided me to another adorable bespectacled architect. He handed me a pamphlet clipped onto a clipboard. I felt so important... for once.

I didn't recognize any of the judges except for Graham. I felt alone and cold*. 

The number of categories we were judging each display on was big: sixteen. And there were about 15 entries. Do the math and you can see we were in for a long night. After 112 numbers were called out by the judges collectively while the first display was being judged, it was decided that we'd skip the 4 sub-categories of the 4 main categories and just shout out 4 numbers total per display, per person. 

The displays ranged from wonderful to wonderful. And that's the truth.**

Judging sculptures made from canned beans and plastic bags of marshmallows was more fun I expected. As the two hour evening progressed, we got more comfortable shouting out the numbers. I will take credit for starting that train. I figured we'd be there all night if the first person didn't shout out a number for each category, so that was me. And it helped get the ball rolling. Not that I was in a hurry. What do I have to do on a Monday night? Blog? Please. 

We all really got into it eventually, discussing details and facets of each piece. We had to take into account if each display featured *healthy* canned food choices, used foods other than canned food, kept with the theme (What do you think makes Orlando magical?), and had a chance to win at Nationals. 

Below are photos of some of the pieces. Big thanks goes out to CANstruction Orlando for asking me to be a judge. 

*It was the mall air conditioner and my own inability to be in the "present".

**I'm not going to sit here on my high horse/couch and skewer professionals who gave of their own time and talents to help feed the homeless.