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Watermelon Fest plans finalized

MURFREESBORO – Months of hard work and planning are almost over.

The North Carolina Watermelon Festival Committee held its final meeting on Tuesday night here at the Hertford Academy.

The festival, held in downtown Murfreesboro, began in 1986 and celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The event runs from August 3 – 6.

Festival organizer Kay Mitchell began the meeting with an update on this year’s entertainment.

&uot;There will be two bands each night,&uot; Mitchell said, including local favorites Band of Oz and country newcomers Last Man Standing.

According to committee member Lynette Bunch the President of the National Watermelon Association will attend this year’s festival and the North Carolina Watermelon Queen, Amanda Wilson.

The festival has grown in popularity over the years. Mitchell received a call from someone in Knoxville, TN asking about the festival after reading about it in his local newspaper.

&uot;We also received a call from a fireworks company that provided fireworks for a Super Bowl and for a Fourth of July celebration on the National Mall in Washington, DC,&uot; added Mitchell.

Festival committee members are also initiating an endowment program this year.

&uot;Contributions to the Friends of the Watermelon Festival will be reserved for emergency use; such as funding for the next year’s event following a year of inclement weather,&uot; according to Sandra Woodard, Chairman of the Friends of the NC Watermelon Festival.

&uot;Everyone who contributes five dollars or more will receive an official NC Watermelon Festival Supporter’s button,&uot; added Woodard

The idea behind the buttons is to show support for the festival and to encourage others to join the Friends of the Watermelon Festival.

&uot;Many of the same food vendors will be back this year as well as plenty of new food vendors,&uot; said Mary Etta Flowers.

The craft show continues to grow along with the festival. Close to 30 new craft show vendors will attend this year as well as 36 vendors from previous years. The vendors, some from as far away as Florida, will be selling jewelry, flags, garden supplies and much more.

The Southeast Tourism Society named the North Carolina Watermelon Festival as one of the top 20 events for the month of August and this designation helps attract attention from throughout the southeastern United States.

Each night will feature surprises and the fireworks show this year will be the biggest in the festival’s history.