Iced drinks, cool salads and luscious summer fruits are staples of summer. Watermelon lovers tout the watermelon as a great summer treat. Nutritionists also promote watermelons, noting that watermelons are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene, help people stay hydrated and allow dieters fill up on few calories. The United States is the fifth largest watermelon producer in the world. Many American communities organize watermelon festivals.
Winterville Watermelon Fest and the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival are both held in the summer in North Carolina. The August Winterville Watermelon Fest provides entertainment and family-oriented activities including arts and crafts vendors, refreshments, concerts featuring well-known entertainers and, of course, plenty of watermelon. The Winterville Watermelon Festival has run for 25 years and visitors can register to participate in the festival's cake decorating contest. The North Carolina Watermelon Festival in Fair Bluff has been held annual in mid-July since 1985. The festival includes a Teen Miss and Queen Scholarship Pageant, variety show, Melon Belle Tea and plenty of watermelon-related events such as the Watermelon Challenge which judges the best tasting and best looking watermelon grown in North Carolina.
The Melon Fest has run since 1942 in locations throughout Hampton County. The towns of Yemassee, Wade Hampton, Varnville and Lake Warren join together to offer a varied schedule of events that includes motorcycle rides, pageants, exhibits, receptions and a family fun day at Lake Warren State Park. The South Carolina town of Pageland's Watermelon Festival includes live music and entertainment, a parade, a rodeo and seed spitting and watermelon eating contests with divisions for different age groups.
The Carytown Watermelon Festival, held in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond, attracts more than 110,000 visitors and 100 vendors. Visitors can attend the festival for free. The Carytown festival features food and craft vendors, a kids' zone and lots of watermelon. On the banks of the Shenandoah River, Berryville runs their annual Watermelon Park Fest which includes live entertainment, dancing, workshops, kids' activities, band and picking contests and food and craft vendors. The festival is held on a September weekend from Thursday to Sunday.
Florida, one of the biggest watermelon growing states, has watermelon festivals running in communities throughout the state. The Newberry Watermelon Festival near Gainesville has held their watermelon fair since 1945. Newberry festival events, held in May, include beauty pageants for all ages, watermelon eating and seed spitting, pie and cake baking and hog calling. The Panhandle Watermelon Festival held each June in the Florida Panhandle community of Chipley features a car show, a watermelon auction fundraiser and lots of live entertainment.
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