Looking for family fun at its best? Then you don’t want to miss the “funnest” summer event happening in East Texas.
The 23rd annual What-A-Melon Festival is kicking off this week. Beginning Thursday evening at 5 p.m. What-A-Melon Festival vendors, booths and carnival rides opening at 5 p.m. and some of the best gospel sounds in the area will hit the stage at 6 p.m. under the Big Tent.
Numerous events for entertainment, shopping and great food will be offered at the festival including the highest anticipated event of the summer festival, the Biggest Watermelon Contest. The Biggest Watermelon Contest is set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Big Tent.
Added Event: This year a new event has been added to the slate of events for the What-A-Melon Festival. The new event is the Watermelon Crawl, a one mile/5k run walk event for all ages that will take place at 7 a.m. Saturday morning. Registration is necessary, but there is still time to participate. Registration and packet pick up will be held on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at All Hours Fitness located on the Center Square. Anyone can register and you can walk, run or do a combination walk/run. Registration can also be obtained on line at www.nacendurance.com and click on upcoming events to find the registration form. The fee for the 5k is $25 prior to race day, or $30 on race day, and for the one mile walk, the fee is $15, or $20 on race day. The event is sponsored by the Center Rotary Club and all proceeds raised from the Watermelon Crawl will benefit the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center. For more information on the Crawl, contact Chandra Atholi at (936) 591-2090 or Denise Merriman at the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy at (936) 590-9864. A map outlining the Watermelon Crawl can be found at www.nacendurance.com or at www.lightandchampion.com and click on News and scroll to story titled “Volunteers, athletes prepare for 5K.”
And back by popular demand is the What-A-Melon Pet Show. The Pet Show will begin at 7 p.m. Friday at the Big Tent. Registration to participate in the Pet Show is free and starts at 6:30 p.m. Categories for the Pet Show include Large Dog, Medium Dog, Small Dog, Cat and Miscellaneous. Prizes will be awarded of $100 for Best of Show; $50 for first place; $25 for second place; and $15 for third place in all categories. All participants will receive a participation ribbon. This year’s Pet Show is sponsored by Shelby Vet, All Gods Creatures, Bark Boutique, Boles Feed, Doggone Pet Spa and Pup & Suds. Please note that all Pet Show participants must be prepared to dispose of their pets’ droppings.
Also returning to the festival this year are the family fun events for Biggest Bite Contest and Seed Spittin’ Contest. These two festival favorites are free to enter and cash prizes will be awarded. Ages for these events are for fun-loving adults and children too. Biggest Bite Contest and Seed Spittin’ Contest will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday near the Big Tent and at the Food Tents.
Festival goers will also want to see who will crowned the next What-A-Melon Queen. The 2012 What-A-Melon Pageant will begin at 7 p.m. at the Big Tent. Pageant participants will show in their best What-A-Melon and summer attire.
A full slate of entertainment and activities are planned, so be sure to make plans to meet your family, friends and neighbors at the 2012 What-A-Melon Festival.
The What-A-Melon Festival schedule of events is as follows:
Thursday, July 12:
5 p.m. - Vendors, booths and carnival rides open; 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Carnival Armband night is $20.
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. - Gospel Night at the Big Tent: performances by FUMC Praise Band, Charles Delaney, Dr. Hooker Quartet and Jasa Rogers.
10 p.m. - Festival closing.
Friday, July 13:
10 a.m. - What-A-Melon Opening Ceremonies at the Big Tent. Following opening ceremonies, vendor booths open.
5 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Watermelon Crawl packet pick up/registration at All Hours Fitness.
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. - Carnival Armband Night, $20.
6:30 p.m. - Pet Show registration (Free).
7 p.m. - What-A-Melon Pet Show begins.
8:30 p.m. - Lexi Minton and Ashton Hill Band.
10 p.m. Festival closing.
Saturday, July 14:
6 a.m. - Registration for Watermelon Crawl.
7 a.m. - Watermelon Crawl.
10 a.m. - Vendor booths open.
12:00 noon - Food booths open.
3 p.m. - What-A-Melon Seed Spittin’ and Biggest Bite Contests.
4 p.m. - Azteca Dancers.
5 p.m. - The Official Largest Watermelon Weigh-in and Contest begins.
5 p.m. - Victoria Ford, singing entertainment.
5 p.m. to 10 p.m. - Carnival armbands available.
6 p.m. - Lacie Felder, singing entertainment.
6 p.m. - Pageant registration.
7 p.m. - 2012 Miss What-A-Melon Pageant Show and new 2012 Queen crowning.
9 p.m. - Pack of Strays band performs.
10:30 - Festival ends.
(Weather permitting, carnival rides may open earlier. Rides before 5 p.m. will be on a ticket only basis. Armbands prices start at 5 p.m.)
The annual What-A-Melon Festival is sponsored by the Center Rotary Club.Let the festivities begin!