By Linda Evans White
Watermelon Carnival Publicity Chairman
Water Valley is gearing up for the city’s First-Week-end-in-August Watermelon Carnival. Sponsored by the Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, this year marks the 48th annual carnival on August 4-5th; and it promises to be an exciting event! Plans are already in the works for family and class reunions, music entertainment, craft and food sales, park games & activities, free ice cold watermelon slices, and lots more.
To get us all in the Carnival Mode, TWO Watermelon Decorating Contests have been announced. One is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce for businesses only, and the other is for residents, sponsored by The Garden Club of Water Valley. That means EVERYONE is eligible to participate, so we can look forward to some “super-duper decorating!”
If the Fall Decorating Contest participation was any indication, we will have watermelon decorations all over town; and we are definitely going to be looking good! Cash prizes will be awarded for all winners.
The weekend begins with Town and Country Garden Club’s Watermelon Music Festival on Thursday night, followed by arts and crafts sales in the park, all day Friday and Saturday. Deejay Bobby Murphree will provide music in the park on Friday, with live music starting at 4 p.m. and continuing all day on Saturday until 5 p.m.
The Watermelon Queen and her court will be presented on Friday, and Friday night’s Street Dance and Fireworks Spectacular display are sponsored by the Renasant and Mechanics Banks, respectively, scheduled for eight and nine p.m. The park is always full of folks on Friday night, enjoying the festivities and getting reacquainted with friends they may not have seen since last year’s carnival. It’s a great night!
In addition to the Park activities, Saturday downtown events begin with the Mechanics Bank’s 3K Walk/Run and the annual Fischer Properties’ Car Display at Shuffield Park, located near the Casey Jones Railroad Museum, where the Lions’ Club will serve pancakes for breakfast in the old Water Valley Railroad Depot.
The MBN-sanctioned Train Tracks Pork Attack BBQ Contest gets started early on Saturday morning with prizes offered for several different meat categories, as well as a Taster’s Choice contest. Buy a ticket, and YOU can help determine the winner for that one! Four off-site cooking categories such as Best Dessert, Sauce, Side, and Anything Watermelon is also available; so start now to decide what dish/dishes you would like to enter.
Saturday will see the exciting Watermelon Games starting at 11 a.m. If you’d like to try your luck at seed-spitting, throwing, and/or eating some mighty fine watermelons, you’ll want to participate. All ages are welcome to enter.
To make it easy for folks to travel from City Park to Downtown and back again, the Chamber of Commerce provides free, air-conditioned trolley rides from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, running every 15-20 minutes. Park pick-ups are located at both of the South Corners of the park, with 10 more stops spaced throughout town.
By the time 1 p.m. rolls around, everyone will be ready for a slice of ice-cold watermelon, provided by Casey Washington. Then, be sure to see the adorable dog parade and costume contest again, a new event last year, sponsored by the Second Chance Animal Alliance. This year, our NEW EVENT is a Sidewalk Chalk-Drawing Contest! More information to come on this fun event.
If you are interested in reserving booth space or entering an event, applications for space rental and the BBQ contest are available on the chamber’s website at: watervalleychamber.info. You may also email the chamber at wvchamber@ bellsouth.net, or call 473-1122. The Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce also has a FaceBook page available.