Watermelon Fest goes ‘tropical’

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

MURFREESBORO – It’s ranked among the top 25 festivals in the southeastern United States and it’s right here in the Roanoke-Chowan area.

The 19th annual North Carolina Watermelon Festival is just around the corner and organizers are gearing up for yet another successful event. The 2004 version of the Festival runs Aug. 4-7 in historic Murfreesboro.

&uot;I wish I could get you a final copy of our schedule of events, but because of all the additions to that list, the copy would be obsolete before the ink dried,&uot; said Kay Mitchell, co-chairman of the Festival’s planning committee. &uot;We’re making changes to the schedule every day, sometimes more than once per day.&uot;

With that thought in mind, those planning on attending this extremely popular event can expect a wide variety of entertainment.

&uot;The committee works very hard in taking the foundation of an annual event and tweaking it with something new and exciting every year,&uot; stated co-chairman Lynette Bunch.

One new feature in store for this year is a sand sculpture artist from Florida. That artist will design and build a giant sand sculpture, one that will help promote the &uot;Sunny Tropical Party&uot; theme of this year’s festival. The 15-ton sand sculpture, co-sponsored by Metal Tech of Murfreesboro and the Northeast Partnership, will begin to take shape on Friday (Aug. 6).

The new T-shirts for the 2004 Watermelon Festival bear that tropical theme – showing the Festival’s mascot, Percy the Ant, lazily relaxing under a palm tree on a &uot;watermelon island.&uot; These T-shirts are currently on sale prior to this year’s festival. Get yours now at the Roberts-Vaughan House (Main Street, Murfreesboro) or on weekends at the newly opened Indian Queen Trading Company (405 Williams Street, behind Maxway). Children’s sizes are available for $10. Adult sizes are $12 (2X and 3X sizes are $15).

As in past years, the Watermelon Festival includes a large showing of antiques, collectables and craft fair vendors. If you work-up an appetite while shopping, then a wide variety of food, some of which is available during the entire four-day run, will satisfy even the most finicky eater.

Amusement rides and games dotting the landscape of a carnival-like midway will offer the young and the young at heart an assortment of thrills. The rides will be open on each day of the event.

Musical acts are once again part of the Festival. Each night, a different band will be featured during a street dance – The Coastline Band on Wednesday, High Roller on Thursday, The Johnny Dollar Band on Friday and Pizazz on Saturday. Those featured performers will take the Broad Street stage at 8 p.m. each night.

One of the most popular events at the Festival is Saturday night’s fireworks show, scheduled to begin at 9:15 p.m. Thousands of festival go’ers will gaze into the night sky for a dazzling display of colorful lights while listening for the thunderous booms. This year’s fireworks are once again sponsored by Georgia-Pacific Resins of Conway.

Another popular event is North Carolina’s largest agricultural parade. Set for a 10 a.m. start on Saturday (Aug. 7), the Watermelon Festival parade will transverse Main Street in front of thousands of onlookers. The parade is sponsored by Glover Construction of Pleasant Hill. This year’s Grand Marshal is Britt Cobb, the North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture.

Festival organizers are currently accepting parade entries. Civic groups, church groups, college and high school bands, saddle clubs and classic vehicle clubs are welcomed to participate. No go-karts or four-wheelers will be allowed. To enter, contact Mitchell (398-5922) or Mona Taylor (585-1634).

Entries are also being accepted for the popular Little Miss Watermelon Princess contest and the Little Miss and Mr. Farmer contests.

The Watermelon Princess event is open to girls, five years of age. They are judged on poise and appearance. In addition, they will be interviewed by the judges. Contact Bunch (398-5830) for details about entering.

The Little Miss and Mr. Farmer contests are open for boys and girls, ages 4-5. These contestants are asked to dress in &uot;country farm&uot; attire. They will be judged on poise and appearance. Call Debbie Edwards (398-3911) to enter.

Any additional information concerning the Watermelon Festival is available by calling 398-5922 or logging on to www.murfreesboronc.com. That website also contains an online store featuring Watermelon Festival items.