Watermelon Festival to be held this weekend

Monroe County’s national winners in Junior Beta Club competition this year have been invited to lead the 39th annual Watermelon Festival Parade on Saturday morning, Sept. 1.
The Gamaliel Elementary entry “Snow White” in the Living Literature category was chosen national champion during the National Junior Beta Club convention in June, with TES placing seventh in that competition and fifth in the display “spotlight your club.”
JHC placed second in technology and seventh in songfest.
MCHS student Atiana Spivey placed first in the language arts test.
Students who were part of the “cast” in these entries, plus several other local elementary students who received top honors in national Junior Beta competition, will be this year’s parade grand marshals.
Most of the other traditional festival events and activities are scheduled again this year, with a few changes in locations and times.
A Cruise-in on Festival Day in downtown Tompkinsville will replace the Car Show that has been held the Saturday before the festival in recent years. The Cruise-in (no entry fee, no judging) will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the parking lot of the First Baptist Church.
These two run events, starting at 8 a.m., open the Festival, followed by the Parade at 10 o’clock, which this year will start at the old high school, traveling down Fourth Street to Magnolia, turning left and ending at La Tia’s.
After the parade, the Monroe County High School band will present a mini-concert on the lawn in front of the courthouse, followed by a ceremony honoring local law enforcement officers in front of the courthouse.
The Arts and Crafts Fair and commercial booths open at 9 a.m. on Main Street (between First and Fourth Streets) and remain open until about 6 p.m. (A few booth spaces are still available).
Also opening at 9 o’clock will be Fox Creek Amusements’ carnival rides and games on Third Street (beside the courthouse), and the Food Court (featuring Monroe County barbecue and many other types of food) on Second Street (on the south side of the courthouse).
Again this year, the annual Art Show will be at the Economic Development Center, open for public viewing between 11:30 and 1:30 p.m., and the Quilt Show will be in the basement of the First Baptist Church, open 11-2. Both are on Magnolia Street.
Other contests will include, as in past years, the Largest Watermelon grown in Monroe County this year and the Best-Decorated Watermelon.
The Festival Horseshoe Tournament will be held at the fairgrounds. The annual Festival Rolley-Hole Marble Tournament will also be at the fairgrounds on Armory Road, off the Edmonton Road, where it has been held the past few years.
The annual Watermelon Fun and Games for kids — watermelon eating and seed-spitting — will be held on the lawn behind the courthouse, starting at 2 p.m.
Live entertainment is planned during the day, starting with the band mini-concert and then at 2 p.m. country/folk artist Michael Jacobs will be performing on the Main Street stage and then at 5 p.m., Centerfire will perform on Main St.
As always, “shade-tree pickers” will be making music in other areas around the courthouse throughout the day.
The annual Cake Walk starts at 6 p.m., in the City Hall parking lot on Magnolia Street.
The festival ends with the annual free Street Concert, this year featuring the Star Mountain Band playing on the Main Street stage from 7 until 10 p.m.
The Tompkinsville Jaycees and Monroe Arts Council, co-sponsors of the festival since it began 39 years ago, invite everyone to make plans to attend some or all the activities.
A detailed schedule of events and other festival information can be found on the Monroe County Watermelon Festival Facebook page.
For general festival information or to reserve booth space, call 270-427-0819.

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