Watermelon Festival Is Back!!!

Published 10:43 am Thursday, May 4, 2023

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Saturday, April 15th, the Washington Parish Watermelon, Fruit, & Vegetable Association in conjunction with local sponsors held the Watermelon Festival Run/Walk in Franklinton.  B4 Fitness, Jack Brown’s, and Mrs. Ola Magee sponsored the event.

Initiated by efforts made by Franklinton Mayor, Greg Route, the Town of Franklinton, and Parish President, Richard “Ned” Thomas, along with local growers and interested parties, the watermelon association that held the Washington Parish Watermelon Festival in the past was legally reorganized and re-formed.  The non-profit organization’s stated purpose is the marketing of Washington Parish agricultural products, promoting the “branding” of the Washington Parish name as it relates to local products, and promoting, sponsoring, and organizing the Washington Parish Watermelon Festival, and supporting education based expertise to growers.

This year the Watermelon Festival will be held July 7-9, the weekend after the Forth of July, at the Washington Parish Fairgrounds. Events are named after popular watermelon varieties to promote the Washington Parish watermelon crop. Vendors will be setting up throughout Friday morning and into mid-afternoon.

Family friendly festivities will begin with a parade procession following the route of the Fair Parade, stopping to have a formal flag raising ceremony led by the American Legion, then proceeding to the rodeo arena for the community wide “Star Brite Sweet Heart Dance”.  A live band accompanied by a DJ will perform at the event where various musical genre are guaranteed to appeal to all musical tastes.  Everyone is encouraged to bring a sweetheart, find a sweetheart, or for those who do not dance (or find a sweetheart), just enjoy the music and fellowship which will be followed by a spectacular “Moon & Stars Fireworks Show” launched from the Midway.

Saturday will be filled with live entertainment, various watermelon contests, the “Crimson Sweet Fire Truck Hose Down”, and the “Georgia Rattlesnake Ranch Style Rodeo”.  Sunday will start with the “Summer Flavor Gospel Singing Program” in the morning hours, then more live entertainment, contests, and the “Sangria (Blood-Letting) Bull Riding” contest.

There will be a Washington Parish Watermelon Festival Queen pageant for ages 0 to 20 years of age in three age brackets (requirements are different for each age group).  The sign ups are held May 6th at the AgCenter/4-H Office located at 1104-B Bene Street, Franklinton, Louisiana from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

At this time the Festival plans to host multiple contests throughout the festival.  Among the contests are the “Allsweet Car Show”, “Jubilee Tractor Show”, “Charleston Grey Frog Jumping” competition for children, “Black Diamond Turtle Race” for children, “Sugar Baby Three Legged Race”, “Gold Strike Greased Pig Catching” contest for children, and many others.  Of course there will be the “Legacy Watermelon Awards”- including but not limited to a seed spitting, taste testing, eating, and watermelon judging competitions.

Prior to the Festival there will be the Watermelon Festival Ranch Queen contest.  Winners of the contest will be recognized at the “Georgia Rattlesnake Ranch Style Rodeo” on July 8th ,and registration will be May 6th from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30a.m.

Any person, business, or organization interested in being a Watermelon Festival sponsor, please contact  HYPERLINK “mailto:watermelonfvassociation@yahoo.com”watermelonfvassociation@yahoo.com get more information.  All vendors interested in participating in the festival can email  HYPERLINK “mailto:watermelonfvassociation@yahoo.com”watermelonfvassociation@yahoo.com to correspond.

Admission to the Festival is free, however there will be a $5.00 charge for the ranch-style rodeo, and a charge for bull riding.  The schedule is subject to change or alteration.  There will be more information to come…