• 79°

NC Watermelon Festival honored

ATLANTA, Ga.

– Somebody is watching.

Since 1985, the Southeast Tourism Society (STS) has published the Top 20 Events.

Each month, 20 of the best events across the southeastern United States compete for one of the prestigious top 20 spots.

The North Carolina Watermelon Festival in Murfreesboro is among the honorees.

Recently, the STS notified the local Watermelon Festival organizers to inform them of their honor.

&uot;We were thrilled with the news,&uot; said Kay Mitchell of the Murfreesboro group. &uot;We’ve always known we had a good thing going here with the Watermelon Festival. Now it’s apparent someone else is seeing the same thing.&uot;

The 2005 version of the NC Watermelon Festival celebrates its 20th birthday this year when the annual event makes its traditional four-day run on Aug. 3-6.

According to the STS (www.southeasttourism.org), the Watermelon Festival is one of only seven events so recognized in North Carolina. Others include the Appalachian Summer Festival, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games & Gathering of Scottish Clans, 50th Annual Robbins Farmers Day, Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, Progress Energy Presents Summer Evening Concert at Biltmore Estate and the 19th Annual North Carolina Seafood Festival.

&uot;The Top 20 Events represents the best festivals the Southeast has to offer.

Events that win this honor benefit from the widespread exposure and prestige that being named a Top 20 Events affords,&uot; said Stephanie Brown-Newton, STS Coordinator of the Top 20 Events program.

To be nominated for a Top 20 Event, an event must be at least in its 3rd year and must have a minimum attendance of 1,000.

Nomination forms and a list of submission deadlines may be obtained from Southeast Tourism Society (Ph: 404-364-9847; e-mail: setourism@mindspring.com).

Founded in 1983, the STS is dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism to its member states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

The membership includes state travel offices, attractions, hotels, motels, resorts, convention and visitors bureaus, airlines, bus companies, car rental agencies, newspapers, magazines and other travel related organizations.