Temps milder for melon fest

By Staff, 08/9/17 2:52 PM


HOPE – Temperatures for the 41st Annual Hope Watermelon Festival should be milder than usual for this time of year.

Predictions are calling for temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s for the festival weekend. However, there is also a chance of rain, but that shouldn’t deter anyone from having a great time. In fact, more vendors are expected this year than there was last year.

The fun kicks off with the arts and crafts displays and concession stands opening at noon Thursday with the annual Kiwanis Club BBQ chicken dinner from 4:30-7 p.m. at the community center. Tickets are $10 each for all ages. Hand dipped ice cream will be available at 6:30 p.m. Thursday’s entertainment will feature Abbe and Ashley Fleener from 6-7 inside the coliseum, while Carl Jackson will be on the Bancorp South stage at the same time. On the Hope Auto/Farmers Bank stage, the Night Hawk Band will perform at 4:30 p.m. with the prelims of the Watermelon Idol contest at 6.

Friday the arts and crafts displays and concession stands will open at 9 a.m. for the early birds. The Lions Club’s annual Fish Fry will be from 4:30-7 p.m. at the community center. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages four to 12. Take out will be available. The dog show will commence at 6:30 with the invitational softball tourney starting at 7 p.m. at Kelly Fields. Also at 7 there will be more hand dipped ice cream and a Baggo tourney at Legion Field. The entertainment will see Abbe and Ashley Fleener from 10 a.m. until noon. At 6, the Little Miss and Mr. Watermelon Pageant will be held in the coliseum. From 5-6 p.m. on the Hope Auto/Farmer’s Bank stage, Denisha Ann will be performing R&B, which will be followed by Harold Massey’s gospel singing from 6:30-7 and Dave Almand at 7.

Saturday tends to be the big day for the festival and really gets off to an early start with the 20th Annual Big Bass Classic starting at 6 a.m. at Yarborough Landing on Millwood Lake. The Watermelon 5K run/walk gets started at 7:30 a.m. with the car show running from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Arts and crafts can be seen starting at 9 a.m. with the softball tourney continuing at 9 o’clock as well, along with a Bingo tourney. The Melon Mile Kid’s fun run will be at 8:45 a.m.

On the Bancorp South stage, Harold Massey will be singing gospel from 9-10 a.m.,

At 10 a.m. youngsters can search for money in the haystack near the Super 1 tent, with a Taekwondo demonstration at 11 a.m. at the Farmer’s Bank/Hope Auto stage. One of the favorite events will be at 11:30 a.m. at the Bancorp South stage when state and local politicians try their hand at the politically correct watermelon eating contest. Contestants this year will be trying to unseat Hempstead County Sheriff James Singleton, who’s won the event the last five years running. The watermelon eating contest follows at noon.

A seed spitting contest will be held at 1 p.m. at the Hope Auto/Farmer’s Bank stage, with an arm wrestling contest set for 2 p.m. on the Bancorp South stage. The bench press competition will be at 4 p.m., also at the Bancorp South stage.

On the CMC Steel Products stage, at Legion Field, Saturday, the finals of the Watermelon Idol contest will be held at 6 p.m., followed by Dillan Cate at 7:30 p.m., the Idol winner at 8:25 and Joe Diffie at 8:30 p.m. Gates at Legion Field will open at 7 p.m. for the Diffie concert.


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