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We did it! If you are reading this then, congratulations, you survived the Water Valley Watermelon Carnival 2022. What a time it was!
Yes, it was hotter than the flaming torched surface of our solar system’s great burning sun but would we honestly have it any other way? Maybe if we were into pumpkins. But we’re not. We’re in to watermelons. It adds to the whole experience to suffer for the Carnival. Is love as sweet if it isn’t yearned for? Same goes for watermelon. Is watermelon as sweet if you weren’t fatally dehydrated while standing on the steaming black asphalt of a scorched earth? Nobody wants a nice juicy slice of watermelon in a snowstorm, you know what I mean?
While I fully endorse embracing the heat and accepting it as a part of your melted soul, I do have a strategy for beating the heat during the Carnival that I’ve slowly developed over the years. This year I perfected it. I stayed in solid form by being Watermelon Carnival Adjacent as opposed to being actually AT the Watermelon Carnival. I hung out in the shady peripheries of Watermelon Carnival’s time and space.
For instance, I went to the Watermelon Carnival on both Friday and Saturday, but at 8 a.m. each day. I enjoyed walking through the park and seeing everyone set up their tents. It’s an hour when the brave booth people are fresh and friendly. They say “Good morning!” in a positive manner, even though they know in a short little while the inferno doors will open and broil them on high for the next 48 hours.
You can also see the various crafts at your leisure; un-jostled by a crowd. Some would argue that the crowd is the best part. That’s a fair point. But the 8 a.m. strategy amounts to a private viewing of the Watermelon Carnival, lending an air of royalty. A downside is that the rides aren’t going that early and the funnel cake/ giant crazy pineapple bowl trucks haven’t cranked up yet. But was I really going to ride the spinny machine or eat a giant crazy pineapple bowl? Guess I’ll never know.
I utilized the Watermelon Carnival Adjacent strategy for Mechanic’s Bank 3k race. I love this race and run it annually. This year, due to being poisoned the night before by Joe and Kathryn York’s watermelon mojitos, I decided to just slowly stroll my regular walking route.
I eventually ended up walking into the race’s medal ceremony that happened to be taking place at the end of my street! This gave me the feeling that I actually ran the race while barely breaking a sweat! Again, Watermelon Carnival Adjacent.
Most key, though, to having a Watermelon Carnival experience in the mid-range temperature is to befriend someone who lives at the park. While I enjoy WVHS therapist Natalie Turner’s friendship every day of the year, never am I more thankful for it in a directly physical sense than when we are all sitting in her shady backyard on Court Street in front of a giant water-fan, listening to the Carnival band play, sending our kids across the street to bring back corndogs and watching the fireworks while Natalie helps her third grade son get a chunk of watermelon out of his nose.
You can take the kid out of the Watermelon Carnival but you can’t take the Watermelon Carnival out of the kid.