Everyone is invited to watch, waddle and win at the Second Annual Tom Watson Watermelon Festival 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 13.
"We think it's going to be huge this year," said Mary Anne Coussons, director of community relations at the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.
Ms. Coussons said there will be a variety of entertainment featuring Cindy Wilson's Dance Studio, gospel singer Robert Cummings, Georgia Watermelon Queen Samantha Stephens, and the country band, Horizon, who performs the Tom Watson Watermelon crawl.
Nineteen craft vendors will showcase everything from baby bibs and dog bandanas to Native American workmanship. The food vendors will be reasonably priced, "so the cost will be very minimal, people can just get out and enjoy themselves."
Fun for the children will consist of a water slide, seed-spitting contest, watermelon roll, greased watermelon three-legged run, watermelon-eating contest, and a greased-pig contest.
Children may decorate their bicycles or wagons and participate in a parade at 10 a.m. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated parade entry. The first place winner will receive $300 to purchase the bicycle of their choice, the second place winner will receive a $75 Wal-Mart gift certificate, and third place receives a $25 Wal-Mart gift-certificate.
Entries are still being accepted for the Watermelon Poetry Contest for third through eighth graders. Poems should be about agriculture, McDuffie County history, Senator Tom Watson, or watermelons.
Contests for the adults include watermelon-eating, recipes, slow tractor race, watermelon waddle cross-country race, and, of course, the largest watermelon contests. The largest melon contests are divided into two categories: Tom Watson Watermelons and non-Tom Watson Watermelons. Only growers who pre-registered and received official Tom Watson Watermelon seeds may enter the Tom Watson Watermelon contest.
"Last year we gave away 44 packets of Tom Watson watermelon seeds, this year we gave away 149, so it'll be three times bigger this year," Ms. Coussons said.
New this year will be the rebuilt watermelon seed smasher, and the slow-tractor race, coordinated through Andy and Pepper Shields.
"I hear it's a real hoot," Ms. Coussons said. "When they've done it in the past, they've had people from eight to 10 states come for it. It'll bring a new audience and a lot of fun."
The festival will be held on the grounds of Hickory Hill, 502 Hickory Hill Drive in Thomson. For more information, call the Watson-Brown Foundation at 595-8886.