Tomorrow the 34th annual
Hope Watermelon Festival starts! The event celebrates Hope’s giant watermelons
and is August 12-14 at Fair Park.
Watermelons have long been a
calling card for the city. The Festival itself dates back to the mid-1920s when
the city staged a one-day annual festival. During these early events, citizens
served ice-cold watermelon to passengers on the many trains that stopped in
Hope. These early festivals brought upwards of 20,000 people in a day to the
town. The end to the first festivals came about 1931 when the city, suffering
from the effects of the depression, could no longer accommodate the crowds.
In 1975, the city celebrated
it’s centennial. The event was such a success that locals wanted to have more celebrations
in town. This gave C.M. “Pod” Rogers ( a local promoter and newspaper man) the
idea to organize a new Watermelon Festival in 1977. The event was a hit and has
been an annual tradition ever since.
This year, the festival features
arts and crafts, entertainment, children’s activities, melon eating,
seed-spitting, lawn mower racing and more. Country music star Joe Nichols
performs at the Watermelon Festival Concert on August 14 at Legion Field.
Opening acts include the Jason Helms Band and Watermelon Idol Contest winner.
The show is $12 for advance tickets and $20 day of show. Admission to the
festival is free and parking is $3. Check out www.hopemelonfest.com or call 870-777-3640
for more details.
If you are in town for the
festival, another potential attraction to check out is Historic Washington
State Park in nearby Washington. More details on the park can be found at