Meet the man who ‘grew’ the biggest strawberry in Ponchatoula!

Travel Girl
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Data pix.

Ponchatoula, La. - Imagine a piece of fruit so big that you can see it from the sky.

There's one in Ponchatoula; it's a nine-foot fiberglass resin berry created by special effects artist Valek Sykes, who normally finds himself working on movie props all over Hollywood South. He is the owner of Tech Works FX Studios in Covington.

"I do a lot of things for the film industry and we've also done things for museums all over the world. We've never done large scale fruit before so this was a fun job."

Val says he's honored to have been asked to create this unique community icon, and will also be working on strawberry planters for Ponchatoula residents. Donor plaques surround the bottom of the berry, which has 120 tiny seeds embedded in it.

"There were basically 3 molds that we made; one is a quarter of the strawberry, one is a quarter of the top, and the other is the seeds," says Val.

He has a special place in his heart for this fantastic fruit: It's rare for him to create something that will have such a long lifespan.  In the movie business, he and his team often spend months building something that's only on the screen for a fleeting moment or two.

With proper care, this berry should be standing for decades, and he's confident it can withstand a hurricane if the need should arise.

It's permanently planted across from City Hall, where strawberry selfies are sure to become a big hit. Our Travel Girl, Stephanie Oswald also came up with a way to "pick" this outstanding berry; check out the video above to see her photo trick!




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