2010: THE YEAR OF THE WATERMELON

December 31st, 2009 by The Watermelon Guy

newyearwatermelonEvery year, I make the same resolutions and every year, I fail miserably at sticking to them. Join a gym and start exercising, call my mother more often, curse less often, and, my personal favorite, read at least one book a month (on average). I actually accomplished that last one this year, but I had to read nine books in December to do it.

Will 2010 be any different? I think it will be, mainly because I’ve decided to ditch the tired old resolutions and adopt a new set of promises based solely on watermelon. That’s right, 2010 is going to be a year in which I grow stronger as a watermelon fan and learn to embrace my favorite produce aisle staple as I expand my knowledge and appreciation for America’s favorite fruit. It’s also a year in which I call my mother more often. I really do need to try to do that.

MY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

 

1. LEARN MORE ABOUT WATERMELON

This one should be easy for me. I already learn new stuff about watermelon on a regular basis just in my research for blog entries on What About Watermelon. But I’d like to go beyond what Google and Wikipedia have taught me, and dig deeper. I’d like to learn about the history of the watermelon, the health benefits of watermelon and how different cultures use watermelon. In short, I want to be a walking, talking watermelon encyclopedia!

2. GROW A WATERMELON

I’ve always wanted to grow a watermelon. Ever since I was a little kid and I heard that swallowing seeds would cause a watermelon to grow in your stomach. I was smarter than most people gave me credit for, and I knew that wasn’t true, but it made me want to grow my very own watermelon. It’s not easy to do, but imagine how good a watermelon would taste if you grew it yourself. Of course, I’ll probably give my watermelon a name and then I won’t be able to bring myself to slice into it come harvest time.

3. COOK MORE WITH WATERMELON

I already do this, but I’d like to do it more often. In fact, I’d like to try one new recipe a month (and no, I won’t be making eight different watermelon dishes in December to meet my quota). When I say “cook more,” I’m really referring to any recipe that uses watermelon in a new and interesting way. So bring on the Watermelon Pad Thai, Harvest Watermelon Pie, and Watermelon Rind Pickles (oh yes) – 2010 is going to be one tasty year.

4. ATTEND A WATERMELON FESTIVAL

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve never been to a watermelon festival. And in order to call myself a true watermelon fan, I feel like I have to. So this year, I will. There is certainly no shortage of watermelon festivals held throughout the nation each year. The only problem is, most of them are held in the South, and I live in the Northeast. Looks like I’ll be taking a road trip.

5. ENTER A WATERMELON SEED SPITTING CONTEST

Ever since I wrote about Lee Wheelis’ world record seed spitting distance (68 feet!) atthe Luling, Texas “Watermelon Thump” festival, I’ve had it in my head that I would practice spittin’ seeds and then, when I’m good and ready, I would enter a watermelon seed spitting contest. That’s going to happen this year… I just have to find a contest. Perhaps I’ll find one at the watermelon festival I plan to attend. Wish me luck!

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2009 WATERMELON FESTIVAL CALENDAR

May 29th, 2009 by The Watermelon Guy

kidmelonNeed 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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