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Watermelon Festival begins Thursday

August 15, 2017 GMT

MONTROSE – Now that the all-you-can-eat corn excitement is finished in West Point, it’s time to go a little farther south to Montrose for the annual Watermelon Festival and eat the fruit for free.

According to Festival Committee president Mark Holland, the festival has been a high point in the town’s activities for as long as he can remember.

“The watermelon festival has been a part of Montrose since the end of World War II,” Holland said.

Starting in 1944 Montrose held the annual Watermelon Festival that features rides, food, arts and crafts, town-wide yard sales, entertainment, and of course, chilled watermelon. The event, which kicks off on Thursday and runs through Saturday, will also feature a parade Saturday morning.

Holland said although the bands and food are always draws to the festival, it’s the festival’s namesake that does the trick.

“We start cooling the watermelon on Thursday to serve during the three-day event,” Holland said. “We will have seven tons of watermelon this year.”

“It starts Thursday at 5 p.m. with armband night,” Holland said. “All rides will be $15. The same people who did the rides in West Point will be doing them here.”

Holland said advanced tickets are on sale now at Connections Bank and Casey’s, both in Montrose. Rides start each day at 5 p.m.

Holland said the featured bands this year include Bo Hoss and The Posse at 7 p.m. Thursday; the St. Barnabas Choir on Friday, followed later in at 7 p.m. by Junior Talley as “Elvis”; and on Saturday there will be the McNamara Band from 2 to 3 p.m., the Sunshine Sisters from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by Deb Frank and Dave Roth.

Holland said 5-10 p.m. will have unlimited rides for those purchasing an armband. Also Thursday evening, there will be a Bingo tent, sponsored by the Montrose Ball Association, food stands, and at 6 p.m., the Princess Contest will take place.

On Friday, from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. the firefighters will have a fish dinner. The food stands will be open and, at 6:30 p.m,. there will be a watermelon seed spitting contest.

On Saturday, the final day of the festival, the Montrose Ball Association will have a pancake breakfast at 7 a.m.; the Watermeloon crawl/walk/run registration will be at 7 a.m. with the race at 8 a.m.; the car show will be at 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.; the festival parade takes place at noon; food stands open at noon until 10 p.m.; The car show winners and parade winners will be announced at 3 p.m.; at 4 p.m. the FFA Alumni ribeye/butterfly porkchop sandwiches will be served; BINGO tent at 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Watermelon Festival Heritage Presentation will take place at 7 p.m., and the watermelon seed spitting contest and eating contest are at 7:30 p.m.

For information about the Montrose Watermelon Festival, call 1-(319)-470-6133.