The Duncan Banner
RUSH SPRINGS —
More than 50,000 pounds of delicious, juicy watermelon will be given away to an anticipated 30,000 visitors Saturday at the annual Rush Springs Watermelon Festival in Jeff Davis Park.
The event is sponsored by the Rush Springs Lions Club and visitors come from all over the world.
New this year is a carved watermelon contest.
“We’re having a watermelon carving contest this year that’s free for anyone,” said Rep. Joe Dorman, chair for the event. “They need to have their carving in by 10 a.m. to the exhibit booth.”
Starting off the day, there will be 5K run at 7:30 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies and awards at 9 a.m. Numerous activities are scheduled throughout the day.
Prize melons also go on the judging table and awards will be given to the Grand Champions and Reserve Grand Champions.
Another new thing to see is the flag ceremony at 8:30 a.m. at the Veteran Memorial at the edge of the park presented by the Stephens County Honor Guard.
Rush Springs is located in Grady County, but the Stephens County Honor Guard performs such duties at various locations. Also, the watermelon festival has long been an attraction for southern Oklahoma.
Other regular activities will be the opening ceremonies at 9 a.m., Tiny Tots contest at 9:45 a.m., a watermelon seed spitting contest at noon, and the free watermelon feed at 4 p.m.
A coronation of the Tiny Tots winners and the Watermelon Queen will take place at 7 p.m. This year’s queen is May’zey Brown, a 16-year-old junior from Rush Springs. Queen nominees must sell tickets to the event and are voted on to win.
“There were three in the competition this year and she was tremendous at selling tickets,” said Dorman. “She is one of the youngest queens we’ve ever had.”
Entertainment from various local bands and organizations will take place throughout the day and carnival rides will begin opening today and run through Saturday.
The Rush Springs Rodeo is also part of the festivities and it takes place tonight and Friday at 8 p.m. in the Rusty Acres Arena and the parade will be Friday at 5 p.m.
Dorman said that they are ready to go with the festival and everything is looking good.
“The melons are great this year, the rain earlier this year helped them develop,” he said. “We’re looking forward to a good time.”
For more information, visit www.rushspringswatermelonfestival.com.