Green + Red = Fun!!

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, August 1, 2023

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MURFREESBORO – Can you believe it’s time once again for the North Carolina Watermelon Festival!

Now in its 38th year, the event remains as one of the largest festivals in northeastern North Carolina as the population of Murfreesboro will more than double in size during its four-day run, Aug. 2-5.

This year’s theme is “Pedaling to Watermelon Fun.”

“What could be more fun than eating watermelon and going on bike rides in the summer,” said Kay Thomas, co-chair of the Watermelon Festival Committee. “To celebrate the delicious fruit and sport, we are encouraging children of all ages to decorate their bikes and lead the parade through downtown Murfreesboro on Saturday, Aug. 5 at 10 am.”

Thomas said a contest for the most cleverly decorated bike will take place immediately following the parade at the main stage on Broad Street (in front of the Murfree Center).

“We look forward to seeing your creativity,” Thomas stressed.

The Festival kicks off on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 6 pm. The Food Court and the midway area – featuring Brinkley Entertainment Amusement Rides – will open at that time. It’s “Family Night” on the midway where unlimited rides are available for $20 per person. This year’s midway at the festival will contain the following rides: Paratrooper, Tempest, Hog Drop, Motorcycle – KiddyCar Combo, Swings, Berry Go Round, Circus Train, Scrambler, Dragon Wagon, Super Slide, Trucks, and Merry Go Round. These are great rides, some for teens/adults and children.

At 7 pm, The Smokin Hot Band, featuring Gary Lowder, will crank up the music on the Broad Street stage.

The Food Court and midway rides open at 6 pm on Thursday, Aug. 3. Unlimited rides are again available for $20 per person. The Main Event Band will provide the music on the Broad Street stage beginning at 7 pm.

The Festival opens at 12 noon on Friday, Aug. 4 with the Food Court and the vendor area at 4 pm. Skosh, a local band, performs at 4 pm on the Broad Street stage followed by the Main Event Band at 7 pm.

Following Saturday morning’s annual parade – hosted by the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce – the last day of the event includes three mainstays of the festival: the Little Mr. Farmer and Little Miss Farmer contests, at 11:30 am, along with the Little Miss Princess Contest. On Saturday afternoon (2:30 p.m. start time) are the popular Watermelon Eating and Seed Spitting contests.

The Peanut City Cloggers perform at 1 pm followed by RT Johnson at 2:30 pm and Vintage Cross at 5 pm.

The midway rides open at 6 pm.

Saturday’s featured band (7 pm) is Pizazz with Kent Zimmerman.

A fireworks show is planned for around 9:15 pm.

Free slices of watermelon, courtesy of Murfreesboro Farms, Inc., will be available at the Information/T-Shirt sales tent during all four days of the Festival.

On Friday and Saturday, Gracy Peterson, the 2023 North Carolina Watermelon Queen, will be in Murfreesboro for the Festival. The 21-year-old daughter of Greg and Linda Peterson of Garland, North Carolina, Gracy is a junior at North Carolina State University majoring in Agricultural Business Management and minoring in Spanish, Biology and Poultry Science. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, canning, and helping out on the family farm.

Admission for the Festival is free for all ages on Wednesday and Thursday. Admission on Friday and Saturday (after 4 p.m.) is $5 for adults (ages 18-and-over) and free for children.

The main festival entrance is on Sycamore Street, just off of Main Street, behind Centura Bank. Parking is available along Main Street, in the lots, directly across from Sycamore Street, behind Maxway, and along other nearby streets.

“The Watermelon Festival is something that our local citizens and those across the region look forward to every year. It’s a time for life-long friends to reconnect and for new friendships to be made. It’s a fun time for all ages to get together,” Thomas closed.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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