Friday, October 24, 2008

Gourding Barack Obama

Posted By on Fri, Oct 24, 2008 at 4:00 AM

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said, "Yes, we can." A locally launched website is saying, "Yes, we carve."

YesWeCarve.com, a website started, in part, by Memphian Josh Horton and his wife Bethany, mixes politics and pumpkins.

"My wife and I were sitting in bed a few weeks ago and she said, 'I think I'm going to carve a pumpkin with Barack Obama's face on it,'" he says. "I said, 'you want to do an Obumpkin?' She said, 'No, I want to do a Barack O'Lantern.'"

Horton, a 29-year-old with a habit of buying domain names, called a friend in New York and another in Chicago to help him take the idea to the web.

Launched earlier this month, YesWeCarve has pictures of Barack O'Lanterns from across the country, as well as easy-to-use Obama-themed carving stencils. A YesWeCarve video slideshow has garnered more than 67,000 hits on YouTube, and the site has been featured on the Huffington Post and DailyKos.

"I never realized the impact of this when we set out to do it," says Horton, a church communications director. "We've posted more than 200 pumpkins and our inbox is filled every day. After this weekend, we got about 85 pumpkins."

The five best pumpkins will be selected by the YesWeCarve team and posted to the site November 3rd. The pumpkin voted the best by the site's visitors will win its carver an orange iPod nano.

Though the iPod was meant to give participants a little incentive, Horton says that most of the submissions never mention the contest. He doesn't think the site's popularity has much to do with pumpkin carving contest.

"I think there's an optimism there that people haven't had with many candidates," he says. "I think it's the man and the platform, what he's bringing to the table."

The site has generated some negative comments -- more political than anti-pumpkin -- but most of the response has been favorable. YesWeCarve.com has a "No Attack Pumpkin" policy and even offers a Republicans for Obama stencil.

For locals wanting to get into the action, YesWeCarve.com will host a BYOP -- bring your own pumpkin -- carving party Thursday, October 30th, at the local Obama campaign headquarters in the Eastgate shopping center.

And with compliments to the site, just remember: Every pumpkin counts.

To read more from Mary Cashiola, visit the In the Bluff blog.

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