Louisiana Watermelon Festival

From Shiloh to Canaan Kitchen

The Louisiana Watermelon Festival is held on the last weekend in July in Farmerville. The Farmerville Jaycees started the festival in 1963 as a way to promote the watermelon industry. I remember going to the festival every year as a kid. It was so much fun. It seemed like everyone in Union Parish was there, especially the politicians. That was in the days when kids could run around all over town without their Mama’s hanging on to them.

There was a parade, the contest for the largest watermelon, a watermelon eating and seed spitting contest and of course the Miss Louisiana Watermelon Pageant.  It has grown quite a bit since I lived there.  Now they have a tennis tournament, bicycle and tricycle races, arm wrestling contest, a best-dressed watermelon competition and a street dance. Of course there are arts and craft vendors, and food and games are open on the Courthouse Square.

Saturday starts off  with a breakfast for the growers who entered their watermelons in the size and quality contests. Watermelons entered in the size contest are judged strictly on the basis of weight. The heaviest three watermelons in each category are then auctioned to the public. Quality contest watermelons are judged at the Union Parish Extension Service by measuring sugar content of the watermelons with a refractometer. Don’t even ask me what a refractometer is.

The parade starts at 9 am on Saturday and begins at the Farmerville High School. Every parade in the history of Farmerville has started at the High School. Everyone would be lost if it started anywhere else. It then heads down Main Street, circles a block and heads back to the school. Vendors are open all day and the watermelon auction begins at 10 am on the Courthouse Square. The Miss Louisiana Watermelon Festival contestants, along with reigning and visiting queens, greet the public beginning at noon. The local radio station will be broadcasting all day. The pageant is on Saturday night.

The Watermelon Festival is a big event in Farmerville and everyone from there has wonderful memories of the festival while growing up. So, we are having our own watermelon event in honor of my home town. From now to the end of the festival we will be posting watermelon recipes. Let’s just hope we have enough to last a whole month. There will be other recipes also but there will be a least one watermelon recipe every day.  Feel free to help me out on this adventure or any other bright ideas I come up with.  Send me your watermelon recipes with a picture if you have one, but a picture is not required. I will posted all of them with you name, giving you full credit for the creation. In the meantime, enjoy your summer and your watermelon.

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