April 29th, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

The 2015 National Watermelon Queen, Emily Brown of Vincennes, Indiana, was crowned earlier this year at the National Watermelon Association’s annual convention (look for an interview with Emily in an upcoming blog entry). The national queen stays very busy throughout the year, but did you know that there are eight other queens who represent various states and regional watermelon associations.

The queens will be tasked with promoting their area’s watermelon crop and will represent the watermelon industry special events, store openings, schools, festivals and parades. They’ll also perform media interviews and may be asked to speak to large groups of people.

All those interviews and appearances mean their speaking and presentation skills need to be sharp. To help with that (and much more), the queens paid a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina this past weekend for a weekend of training sponsored by Bayer CropScience.

On the agenda were sessions about performing media interviews, how to make the most of an event or in-store demo, and even lessons on appearances and etiquette. The day started off with Watermelon 101, transitioned to Queen 101 and continued with communications and presentation training. To wrap up the day, hosts from Bayer CropScience presented on the company, the crop and the watermelon’s many attributes. Bayer presenters included Caitlin Tierney, Chuck Elam, Russ Beckham and Rob Beets. And that was just one day.


The weekend kicked off with a reception on Friday, where the queens met with Bayer CropScience leadership, the National Watermelon Promotion Board team, and also North Carolina NWPB board member and vice president Tony Moore of Moore’s Produce. Not only do the nine watermelon queens come for training, but several states also send their first runner up to be trained for coverage if and when they are double booked during their promotional year.

Saturday afternoon’s media and communications training was facilitated by agency professionals with Porter Novelli. Sunday morning was spent back at the Bayer Bee Care Center with presentations and a tour of the facility by Becky Langer and Sarah Myers with Bayer CropScience.



During their time in Raleigh, the queens were hosted at the Bayer Crop Science Bee Care Center (above and below). While there, they learned about the important role that bees play in bringing watermelon (and many other crops) to life.


National Watermelon Promotion Board Executive Director Mark Arney (left) and Chuck Elam (right) from Bayer CropScience/Nunhems USA were also in attendance at the Bee Care Center. Did you know that bees help pollenate more than 100 crops in the U.S. and more than a third of the foods that we eat? Check out our past blog entry for more info about the amazing work that bees do.

UP NEXT: TWO Watermelon Recipes

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February 23rd, 2015 by The Watermelon Guy

It’s February, which means the members of the National Watermelon Association (NWA) came together this past weekend for the group’s annual convention in La Quinta, California.


The convention featured the usual meetings and seminars about all things watermelon, but the NWA members also took time to have a little fun. There was a seed-spitting contest and a watermelon-eating contest, but the highlight of the four-day gathering was the selection and crowing of the 2015 National Watermelon Queen.

Regional watermelon queens from around the nation squared off in a grueling process to determine which one would earn the national title. Alright, it probably wasn’t “grueling” — in fact, I’m told the process is actually quite enjoyable for the queens — but the judges and potential queens definitely took the selection process seriously.

In the end, the winner was Emily Brown of Vincennes, Indiana. Emily was previously the Illiana chapter Watermelon Queen and inherits the National Watermelon Queen title from Brandi Harrison. We interviewed Brandi here on the blog last year, and we’ll interview Emily in an entry in the near future.

Until then, a big congratulations goes out to Emily on her new position as the queen of the watermelon industry!

UP NEXT: How to cut a watermelon to avoid getting a messy face

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December 17th, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

Each year, members of the National Watermelon Association (NWA) convene for the NWA’s annual convention. It’s a pretty big deal, and anyone who’s anyone in the watermelon industry is in attendance.

This year’s convention, held in Savannah, Georgia, was especially significant because it marked the 100th anniversary of the NWA. In addition to lots of meetings and seminars about watermelon, the convention also features a watermelon seed-spitting contest, a watermelon eating contest, and the crowning of the new National Watermelon Queen (stay tuned for a blog entry with an interview with the new queen).

In addition to the convention being the 100th anniversary of the NWA, it’s also the 25th anniversary of the National Watermelon Promotion Board and the 50th anniversary of the National Watermelon Queen program!

The convention also includes an auction – with sports memorabilia and truckloads of watermelon among the items – which this year raised a record $632,260. The total will be used to fund a majority of the National Watermelon Association’s annual budget.

watermelon presidents

Because the convention marked the 100th anniversary of the National Watermelon Association, they took some time to recognize some of the many NWA presidents who have served over the past century.

watermelon team

Like I mentioned, the various state and regional watermelon queens competed at the conference for the title of National Watermelon Queen, and the winner was Florida Watermelon Queen Brandi Harrison! Above is Brandi with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ross Chastain (right), whose #92 Ford is sponsored by watermelon.

watermelon eating contest

The convention hosted a friendly watermelon-eating contest. It’s nice to see that they provided the competitors with raincoat-like smocks to protect them during the messy contest. Somehow, I doubt smocks will be provided for the eating contest I’ll participate in later this summer.

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March 31st, 2014 by The Watermelon Guy

queens 1

The National Watermelon Association recently crowned its new National Watermelon Queen (stay tuned for an interview in an upcoming blog entry), but did you know that there are eight additional queens? The “extra” queens represent each of the watermelon-producing states and regions and join the National Watermelon Queen in helping to promote watermelon at events throughout the nation.

It’s no easy task, either. As told by The Produce News in an article about the demands of being a watermelon queen, “the queens can turn up anywhere during their 12-month reign – trade shows, fairs, schools, corporate events, in grocery stores doing watermelon promotions and even on Capitol Hill helping industry lobbyists carry their concerns to member of Congress.”

To help them make the most of the demands of their new position, the queens came together this past weekend in Orlando for one day of rather intense training (but also lots of fun). The training includes lessons on being a media liaison, in-store appearances, recipe demos, appearance, and etiquette to name a few.

queens 2

During the media training session, all queens participated in mock interviews in various scenarios from TV interviews to in-store appearances.


NWPB Director of PR & Social Media interviews the North Carolina Watermelon Queen


NWPB Staff also educated them on all of the resources available to them for any promotion they may have throughout the year.


All queens learned how to demonstrate the fire & ice salsa recipe … and also how delicious it is!


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May 13th, 2009 by The Watermelon Guy

watermelon-queen-with-melonEach February, the National Watermelon Association hosts its national conference, which is attended by pretty much everyone in the watermelon industry. This year’s conference was held in Charleston, SC, and the highlight of the event was the crowning of the 2009 National Watermelon Queen, Maggie Bailey.

That’s right, there’s a National Watermelon Queen. And it’s not easy becoming the face of the watermelon industry. Each of the nation’s eight regional watermelon queens compete for the national title, and are judged based on their poise, personality and knowledge of watermelons.

Maggie is from Vincennes, Indiana, and is currently studying elementary education at Indiana State University. During her tenure as queen, Maggie will travel the nation and represent the watermelon industry at state fairs, conventions, trade shows, festivals and in-store events.

To help everyone get to know the National Watermelon Queen a little better, I recently interviewed Maggie via e-mail. As you would expect, she was more than willing to share her enthusiasm for America’s favorite fruit.

What inspired you to become a watermelon queen?

I’m from a very agriculture-rich community where homegrown fresh produce, especially watermelon, is close to heart.  The watermelon industry entailed so many respectable qualities and characteristics that I wanted to represent.

I noticed on your bio that you’re studying elementary education. Does that mean you’d like to be a teacher some day?

I’m very passionate about this field of study and that is why I chose it as my educational focus.  Of course, I cannot wait to be a teacher some day!

Will you incorporate watermelon into your classroom lessons? You know there are lesson plans for teachers on the National Watermelon Promotion Board’s website, right?

Absolutely. Watermelon and its nutritional, economical, and convenience benefits are something that I will always advocate.  I have been privileged to visit elementary classes and have used some of the lesson plans that are offered on NWPB website. They are great!

I know you’ve only been queen for two months, but what’s been the highlight of your reign so far?

The highlight so far has been my continuation in representing the watermelon industry by spreading the news to consumers of endless benefits of watermelon and how big a part it plays in the American economy. 

Has anyone ever asked you to autograph a watermelon?

That is something that I have not encountered yet, but I would put my stamp on any watermelon proudly!

The summer must be very busy for you, right? Can you give us a sneak peek at what the next four or five months look like for the National Watermelon Queen? 

The summer will be a whirlwind of hard work and fun.  There is much work to be done during season for all facets of the watermelon industry.  I am so excited for all of the promotions!  Just a few of the events the National Watermelon Association (NWA) is looking forward to include a nationwide Six Flags seed spitting competition where ESPN will be there to broadcast live, the Indianapolis Kroger Busch races, and the airing of the watermelon segment with the nationally syndicated Mr. Food show on July 1st.

Once the summer mayhem is over we will be visiting Washington D.C. to lobby at the nation’s capitol and traveling to California for the biggest food show in the world (the Produce Marketing Association show), just to name a few.

Wow, who knew being National Watermelon Queen would keep you so busy! Would you be willing to share some of your adventures as a guest blogger here on What About Watermelon?

Of course!  Although it’s only been two months since my crowning it has been a very busy two months, especially April.  Kicking off the year with the new state queens was amazing.  The National Watermelon Promotion Board queen training was hosted in Ft. Lauderdale, FL this year with Mr. Food and Miss America 1999, Nicole Johnson.  After returning from Florida a day later we flew out to Las Vegas for the United Fresh convention.  From Vegas we visited Bentonville, Arkansas for a Susan G. Komen Walk for the Cure event.  Each year is more and more promising for the watermelon industry due to the growing success and pay off of everyone’s hard work.

Any tips for aspiring watermelon queens out there?

If you have the skill and work ethic to learn about this commodity and be passionate about selling it, you should definitely think about becoming involved in this industry.  This industry is a family and the individuals entrust their queens generously with their hard earned money to keep the queen program alive.  While being a watermelon queen entails many responsibilities, the honor is something that you cannot replace with anything else.

Thanks again for talking with us, Maggie. Good luck this year, and we look forward to hearing more about life as watermelon royalty!

It’s been fun!  Thank you for thinking of me and don’t forget to enjoy heart healthy watermelon, the versatile snack that is practically a multivitamin in itself!

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