Need proof that watermelon is near and dear to the hearts of more Americans than almost any other fruit? Take a look at how many watermelon festivals are planned each year. (Answer: lots!) Here’s a run-down of some of the most notable festivals being held in ‘09. I tried to include as many as I could, but if I missed any, leave a comment and let me know. Also, if anyone is planning to attend any of these festivals, I’d be happy to have you on here as a guest blogger to give us a run down of all the action.
HAMPTON COUNTY WATERMELON FESTIVAL (June 20-28, 2009)
There’s not quite as many watermelon-centric events at this festival as there are at the Louisiana festival below, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less fun. For 67 years, Hampton County, South Carolina, has hosted this get-together, which features a watermelon eating contest, a watermelon decorating contest and a “Melon Miss & Master Contest.”
LULING WATERMELON THUMP (June 25-28, 2009)
The folks in Luling, Texas, sure know how to throw a party. According to the website, this festival features “fire eaters and the like, Street Dances, Arts & Crafts, Champion Melon Judging and Auction, World Champion Seed Spitting Contest, Rodeo, Parade, Melon Eating Contest, and more.”
PANHANDLE WATERMELON FESTIVAL (June 26-27, 2009)
This Florida festival has the most watermelonesque website of all the festivals. It’s even got a few big name country music singers making appearances along with the seed spitting contest and watermelon auction. By the way, the concert is free, and so is the watermelon. That’s right, FREE WATERMELON!
LOUISIANA WATERMELON FESTIVAL (July 23-25, 2009)
This festival, now in its 46th year, features watermelon seed spitting contests, watermelon eating, a largest watermelon contest, watermelon decorating, a watermelon hunt and a watermelon auction. And, best of all, it’s free!
HOPE WATERMELON FESTIVAL (August 6-8, 2009)
Hope, Arkansas, may be better known as the home of former President Bill Clinton, but it’s also the home of the Hope Watermelon Festival. This festival features the Watermelon Olympics (with a watermelon toss, among other events), a seed spitting contest and a “Watermelon Idol” talent show.
SUNLAND-TUJUNDA LION’S CLUB WATERMELON FESTIVAL (just added!!) (August 14-16, 2009)
There are lots of things happening at this festival, including a contest to determine the festival’s watermelon queen. There’s also lots of carnival rides and a petting zoo. How can you say no to that?
PARDEEVILLE WATERMELON FESTIVAL (September 12, 2009)
This is the official home of the United States Watermelon Speed Eating and Seed Spitting Championships. The site shows photos of past seed spitting contests and eating contests. I’ve never entered a seed spitting contest, and I’m really curious about how I’d do.
UPDATE: I should also note that the DeLeon Peach and Melon Festival takes place every year in August. This year, the 95th festival was held in the first week of August, and featured a watermelon seed spitting contest AND a watermelon slicing contest!
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