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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Watermelon Festival draws record crowds

Friday, August 17, 2012

The smell and taste of cool, sweet watermelon is one of the highlights of summer, especially in Cave City, home of one of the state's largest watermelon producing areas. One thing Sharp County residents look forward to each year is the city's watermelon festival, and this year the much cooler temperatures helped bring out record crowds.

The 33rd Annual Watermelon Festival, Aug. 9-11 featured wonderful food, parades, activities, and entertainment, but visiting with friends and neighbors is also a big attraction.

Walking through the maze of vendors and scrumptious smells led to many food booths with treats ranging from fried oreos and loaded potatoes to burgers, nachos, hot dogs, and shaved ice. Residents were seen visiting in small groups, minus the sweltering heat that many years curbs the crowd.

Opening night, Aug. 9, featured music from Rockin' Luke Stroud and the Spring River Sweeheart Lauren Gray. There were cash drawings, purses, freebies and enough food on a stick to satisfy the entire state. Folks brought their lawn chairs, and made the opening night a record breaker.

Friday brought more musical entertainment and cool weather and a large crowd stayed on past 10 p.m. for cash drawings.

The grand finale Saturday, began early with a pancake breakfast, followed by a large parade with numerous political, beauty and civic entries.

Political candidates took the stage along with Miss Arkansas, Sloane Roberts, before an afternoon of clogging, dance and musical entertainment.

A car show, watermelon games, horseshoe pitching and food galore were the highlight of the day before the prize melon auction, with proceeds benefitting the Arkansas Children's Hospital. Crowds then begin to form a huge line for the favorite event of the festival-- the big watermelon feast.

Growers gathered with donated melons for the free feast. The crowd was treated to ice cold red and yellow melons before the day's musical entertainment.

The evening ended the three day event with a $500 cash drawing.

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