Southerners have always enjoyed cool, juicy watermelon in the summer. But in Thomson, Southerners shoot the melons from a giant sling-shot.
The Seventh Annual Tom Watson Watermelon Festival will be Saturday, Aug. 7 at the Watson-Brown Foundation. In addition to the watermelon sling-shot, kids of all ages can enjoy seed-spitting contests, the greased melon obstacle course, watermelon bowling, watermelon roll and watermelon shot-put.
"There's fun, new games in the kids zone," organizer Michelle Zupan said. "And of course, we've just gotta have the watermelon sling shot."
The kids zone, for ages 8-years-old and younger, includes watermelon toss-across, watermelon croquet, watermelon bowling and watermelon bubbles.
The festival includes craft and food vendors, many watermelon-related activities and all the watermelon you can eat. It takes place rain or shine.
Weigh-ins for the Tom Watson watermelon growing contests are from 8 - 10 a.m., and entertainment will be provided by High Cotton Band at 11 a.m. Tours of the Hickory Hill mansion will be from 11 a.m. until noon. Winners of all contests will be announced at 3:30 p.m.
A new contest this year that has been on-going all month is the Pig O' Caches, which have involved first-finder prizes for geocaching spots around the county. The caches were ceramic pigs painted like watermelons. Geocaching is a popular treasure hunt-style hobby in which people search for "caches" using a hand-held Global Positioning System and coordinates obtained from the Internet.
"We've had a good response to it and people have found areas of the county they didn't know existed. So, that's good," Ms. Zupan said.
The final cache is hidden at the festival, and geocachers may pick up the coordinates from the Watson-Brown table at the festival. The first-finder prize is a watermelon tourmaline necklace.
The Watermelon Festival is from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 7at Hickory Hill, 502 Hickory Hill Drive, off of Tom Watson Way in Thomson. Admission to the festival is free. Hickory Hill Mansion Tours cost $1. For information call 706-595-8886 or 706-595-7777. For a map and directions go to www.hickory-hill.org.