While the star of the show is the watery Cucurbit family member, the real attraction is the local culture.
Nothing brings people together better than seeing families and friends gather each year just to have fun.
Then again, the watermelons in Arkansas might just be that good. If you really want to know for sure, you could always join one of these festivals and find out for yourself.
What You Need To Know About Watermelons in Arkansas
Before we get to the festival, let us first talk about the fruit.
Watermelon is 92% water, making it a very refreshing treat during hot summer days. At the same time, it is loaded with lycopene, citrulline, glutathione, and other beneficial substances.
By the way, it tastes really good, too.
It is no wonder that this member of the Cucurbit family is the most consumed type of melon in the US, at least by weight.
What’s more, its consumption has been increasing over the years.
So, when you hear some people say that it lacks nutritional value, don’t believe it because it simply isn’t true.
Farmers usually plant watermelons from late April all the way to the early days of June.
They are generally grown from seeds but don’t be surprised to see transplants in local garden centers.
Either way, these plants thrive in deep, sandy loam that is well-draining and filled with organic matter. They grow across Arkansas, which has rich and fertile soil.
Aside from the nutrients in the ground, they also need sunlight, water, and a lot of growing space.
To give you a better idea, watermelon plants need around six to 12 feet of space around them. So, you should set aside at least 20 square feet if you want to grow them.
That said, don’t despair if you do not have this much real estate to devote to a watermelon patch.
You could try growing them vertically by installing a trellis or planting them close to a chain-link fence.
Granted, you need to support the vines with soft ties since they are not good climbers. Also, you would have to look for a way to prop up the weight when the plant starts bearing fruits.
Watermelons typically weigh around 18 to 25 pounds, but there are those that have been known to weigh over 300 pounds.
On the flip side, there are also varieties that are grown for individual consumption and are just around one to three pounds at full maturity.
Watermelon Festival in Arkansas
Now that you know what there is to know about watermelons, it’s time to talk about the watermelon festival in Arkansas, which one of the very many celebrated in the state.
There are actually two places in the state where they celebrate this event annually: Hope City and Cave City.
The verdict is still out on which one is better, as both places really know how to party.
Cave City Watermelon Festival
Cave City sits above the Crystal River Cave, which was how it got its name.
However, it is known all over the country for a different reason—having the sweetest watermelons in the world.
They celebrate the Watermelon Festival every July with three straight days of fun and entertainment the whole family can enjoy.
There is live music every night featuring nationally-recognized and local acts.
During the day, you get to choose from fun activities like the kids’ fishing derby, car show, and fun run.
You could also satisfy your food cravings with the pancake breakfast, free watermelon feast, and an array of other mouthwatering food.
Of course, they also have the “Prize Melon,” which they auction on the final day of the festivities. The proceeds usually go to a local hospital or other institutions that need funding.
While all these things sound like a lot of fun, what really makes the event special are the people and businesses in Cave City.
Over the years, it has grown into some sort of homecoming where class reunions are held and families reconnect.
Local business owners also take this opportunity to give back to the community by sponsoring entertainment activities.
If you have never been, you are missing out and might want to block off your calendar, grab a lawn chair, and join the festivities!
Hope Watermelon Festival
How much fun can you have because of watermelons? A lot, actually, as the annual Hope Watermelon Festival will show.
Hope is a Hempstead County city located in the southwestern part of Arkansas.
While Cave City is known for growing the sweetest watermelons in the world, Hope’s claim to fame lies in the fruit’s size.
Local farmers pride themselves on growing the largest specimens. The current record is 268.8 pounds, set by Lloyd Bright in 2005.
That’s why the whole community gathers every August to celebrate the Hope Watermelon Festival in Arkansas.
It has arts and crafts, food, and loads of family-oriented activities. You can run the 5k race, join the Watermelon Olympics, or show your talent in the Watermelon Idol.
There is also the watermelon eating contest and seed spitting competition if that is more your speed.
Each day of the three-day festival is book-ended by live entertainment or something that is equally exciting.
Of course, you also get to see some of the biggest watermelons you have ever laid your eyes on!
Which Is Better?
Both watermelon festivals are awesome, and you can go to either one and not regret it. You get to eat good food, listen to great music, play games, and have fun with amazing people.
I guess your choice would depend on which watermelon you prefer: sweet or big and juicy.
About Rock City Outfitters
Here at Rocky Outfitters, we create special and custom designs and then print them on high-quality garments.
You can buy our tees online, from select retail stores, or at events like the Watermelon Festival.
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