The 32nd Annual Cave City Watermelon Festival promises not to disappoint anyone with the many activities planned during the three day event, which runs from Aug. 11 through Aug. 13. With food, vendors, entertainment and cash drawings, bringing a lawn chair and enjoying the fellowship and a piece or two of cold melon is a welcome way to spend the evening and even cool off on a hot summer Saturday. All events, with the exception of the pancake breakfast held Saturday morning from 6 a.m. until 10 a.m., will be held at the Cave City Park. The pancake breakfast will be held prior to the parade at the First Baptist Church of Cave City Family Life Building. The parade will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. at the high school, ending at the park.
Thursday night, the festival will kick off at 5 p.m with watermelon judging. This is a crowd favorite, as they get to see the colorful ribbons placed on the best of the best melons. Entertainment will begin at 6 p.m. on the main stage with Keleena Hutchins on harmonica along with Coby Turner on piano.
At 7 p.m. the park is sure to be hopping as Rockin' Luke Stroud takes the stage with his popular impersonation of Jerry Lee Lewis' famous antics.
At 8 p.m., the Down Home String Band, a popular country--bluegrass group, will take the stage. Following their performance, there will be a drawing for prizes. Be sure to get a free ticket and register for the many prizes provided by festival vendors.
At 9:15 p.m., the First Baptist Church of Cave City's Celebration Choir will perform a salute to veterans. This is certain to be an emotionally touching performance.
Thursday night's activities will end at 10 p.m with the drawing for a $200 cash prize for an adult ticket. There will also be drawings for youth,teen and adult prizes. Winners must be present to claim their prizes, so this is another great reason to sit and enjoy the evening's entertainment.
Friday Night the festival will kick off with Crystal River Bluegrass at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. the crowd will be treated to a step back in time as the Cave City Cruisers Car Club perform a drive through in the park.
At 7:10 p.m., the Big Creek Opry Band will take the stage, followed by local favorite Sarah Roark and the Lockhouse Orchestra at 8 p.m. At 9 p.m. the festivities will break for vendor prize drawings, then Roark will continue to entertain the crowd until 10 p.m. At 10 p.m., there will be a $300 cash drawing for an adult ticket winner, as well as other prizes for youth, teen's and adults.
Saturday is the big day at the festival and it kicks off very early with the pancake breakfast . During the breakfast, early birds can also take a trip to the park for a little visual stimulation at the Cave City Cruisers Annual Car Show. The show will be on display for the better part of Saturday. Horseshoe Pitching will be going on prior to the 10 a.m. parade at the park.
Directly following the parade, Cave City Mayor Daniel Wilson will make introductions of all the Watermelon Festival beauty pageant winners on the main stage at the park.
The stage will be open at 11:30 a.m. for local political candidates, prior to the ever popular Mountain View Cloggers, who will entertain the crowd with their quick tapping toes at noon.
At 12:30 p.m., KC Dance Dynamics will perform and at 1 p.m., The Cobb Brothers will take the stage to keep everyone's toes tapping. Following the Cobb Brothers at 2 p.m. will be Jamie Matthews, and at 2:45 p.m. there will be a drawing for a watermelon quilt, followed by watermelon games at 3 p.m.
Soon after, the ice cold melons make their appearance at 4 p.m. for the culmination of the festival -- the free watermelon feast. The icy melons are served free of charge by the registered growers. Please be sure to take a few moments to thank them for their generosity and be sure to place rinds in the back of the truck rather than in the trash barrels, as the weight of the barrels, if filled with rinds, become too heavy to empty.
The watermelon seed spitting contest for both adult and youth begins at 4:30 p.m., followed at 5 p.m. by the prize melon auctions. The generosity of the public has been seen year after year as all proceeds from the auction go to the Arkansas Children's Hospital at the request of the growers.
As the night draws near, Kim Dohn and Charles Landers will sing at 6 p.m., followed at 7 by The Palmer Family. The Crist Family takes the stage at 8 p.m. There will once again be vendor drawings at 9, and the Crist Family will end the 2011 festival at 10 p.m. prior to the drawing for $500 cash and other drawings.
Winners of drawings must be present all nights of the festival to win the prizes. The festival committee also requests there be no dogs or alcoholic beverages in the park during the festival.
Everyone is welcome to spend a night or three in Cave City and see what a wonderful contribution these growers make to our local economy each year. Support them by purchasing a watermelon or two to take home and enjoy later.
A genuine Cave City watermelon bears the oval trademark "Best of the Crop grown by" sticker. Accept no imitations. These growers have put years of research and trial into insuring their customers have the sweetest and juiciest melons around.