A Southern summer is not complete without watermelon, and the Watson-Brown Foundation will serve it up in large quantities this weekend for the sixth annual Tom Watson Watermelon Festival.
"There are just gargantuan piles everywhere," Watson-Brown Curator Michelle Zupan said. "Dexter (Rhodes, the landscape manager) and the guys have been harvesting for weeks, now."
The festival begins at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, with 16 craft and food vendors, watermelon-related activities and all the watermelon you can eat. It takes place rain or shine, and will last until 3:30 p.m.
"A watermelon day is always a perfect day," Ms. Zupan said.
High Cotton Band will provide the musical entertainment while watermelon lovers enjoy seed-spitting, greased watermelon obstacle course, watermelon roll, watermelon shot-put and watermelon eating contests.
The kids zone, for ages eight-years-old and younger includes watermelon toss-across, watermelon croquet, watermelon bowling and watermelon bubbles.
"It's bigger and should be a lot of fun," Ms. Zupan said.
New vendors this year include scrapbooking supplies and pottery. And hungry patrons who want a little meat to go along with their melon can enjoy buffalo burgers from Coastal Plains Bison.
The festival is at Hickory Hill, 502 Hickory Hill Drive off of Tom Watson Way in Thomson, Ga. For more information, call 706-595-8886 or 706-595-7777. For a map and directions, go to www.hickory-hill.org.
Admission to the festival is free.
Melon Mania schedule
8-10 a.m. Tom Watson Watermelon weigh-in
9 a.m. vendor booths open
10 a.m. blessing of the watermelons, welcome from Mayor Kenneth Usry and introduction of watermelon dignitaries.
10:30 a.m. seed spitting contests
11 a.m. guided tour of Hickory Hill
11 a.m. High Cotton Band
11:30 a.m. greased melon obstacle course
12:30 p.m. watermelon roll
1 p.m. guided tour of Hickory Hill
1:30 p.m. 2009 Georgia Watermelon Queen, Lindsey Mann
1:30 p.m. watermelon eating contests
2:30 p.m. watermelon shot-put (ages 18 and older)
3 p.m. watermelon sling-shot
3:30 p.m. announcement of contest winners