Sticky hands and faces are on the horizon this weekend at O.K. Anderson Park in Green River as the town hosts its 108th annual Melon Days festival.
“This is an exciting time of year for the city of Green River,” Melon Days softball tournament organizer Clint Liddiard said. “This is where the community and city come together to make the event exciting and fun for all who come to town. The town is more like a big family, so they enjoy opening the doors so to speak, to allow others to come in and enjoy the small town like we do everyday. Amazing views, delicious watermelon and a friendly atmosphere.”
Watermelon is popularly used as a fruit to be a sweet enhancer or fun accompaniment to everyday meals, according to Melon-days.com. The watermelon is often cut into bite-sized squares or balled, or very often simply sliced and enjoyed. It’s also used in the types of recipes that are created using fruit. The whole watermelon is edible, even the rind. In places like China, the watermelon is stir-fried, stewed and often pickled. Pickled watermelon rind is also widespread in Russia.
To pick out a good watermelon, many people tap the watermelon and listen for a ‘thump’, but Melon Days suggests to look it over, lift it up and turn it over. Looking it over, it should be firm and symmetrical, free of bruises, cuts and dents. Lifting it up, it should be heavier than it looks because it’s 92-percent water. Turning it over, it should have a creamy, yellow spot, called the ‘ground spot,’ where it sat on the ground during sun-ripening.
The festival is full of events both Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20, officially beginning with the Melon Queen Pageant at 7 p.m., at Green River High School, 455 W. 400 North. Contestants must be between the ages of 15 and 24, reside, work or attend school in Green River for six months prior to the pageant, and be a legal resident of the United States.
Winners will be awarded scholarships of $500 for Melon Queen and $250 for First Attendant and Second Attendant. If the winners complete 40 hours of volunteer service at a city-approved venue anytime during the year following their win, then the scholarship will be doubled by the City of Green River. Tickets are $5 for spectators, and are available at Green River City Hall.
On Saturday, the day kicks off with a pancake breakfast hosted by local Boy Scout Patrol 289. The breakfast includes ham, eggs, orange drink and all-you-can-eat pancakes and costs $5 for adults, $3 for kids and $20 for families or groups of six. Proceeds will go toward camps and outdoor adventures.
Beginning at the same time as the breakfast is the Melon Run 5k walk/run. The race starts at Green River High School and finishes at the Little League field four blocks east of the high school. Refreshments will be served at the finish line.
People may still enter the race via $15 entry fee. Racers are asked to pre-register if possible, with pre-registration taking place on Friday, Sept. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. at 275 N. Clark St. Race-day registration is at 6:30 a.m. All participants must be registered and at the starting line at 6:45 a.m., for the race to begin at 7 a.m. For more information, contact McKenzie Howard at 435-820-0475 or email@example.com.
Following the breakfast and Melon Run, the Melon Days Parade takes over downtown Green River beginning at 10 a.m., with people and vehicles decorated to match the theme.
Also at Melon Days, are two softball tournaments: men’s slow pitch and coed slow pitch, beginning Friday night and continuing all day Saturday.
“The softball atmosphere is very competitive but it is also a fun environment,” Liddiard said. “The teams that come want the bragging rights as the champions of this tournament. In fact, I have heard from several teams as they signed up that this is the tournament they look forward to the most. Most of the teams coming have been coming for 15 to 20 years, so there is a strong tradition tied to this tournament and Melon Days. I think this year we have some newcomers as well, which gives everyone a chance to make new friends.”
Liddiard said the tournament is structured in a way that participants may play in both tournaments, as well as enjoy the festival itself.
“With the way tournaments work, you have time between your games, which gives the players and their families time to make it over to the park and walk around, get some awesome food and try the most delicious watermelon in the land,” he said.
The registration deadline for the tournament was Tuesday, Sept. 16
“My wife, Victoria Liddiard, and I, are happy the city asked us to put this tournament together and we are working hard to have it be well organized and fun,” Liddiard said.
Eagle Air Med is selling raffle tickets for a helicopter ride during Melon Days as well. There will be a booth in the park on Friday and Saturday, with the drawing to take place at 1 p.m., and the ride itself at 2 p.m.
On Friday morning, there will be a 3-man scramble golf tournament at 9 a.m., and in the afternoon there will be a shooting tournament at 4 p.m. Both Friday and Saturday, there will be a concert in the park, with Zam Trip playing at 9 p.m. Friday, and the Statuettes playing at 6:30 p.m. Saturday. The festivities conclude Sunday, Sept. 21 with the Green River Ambulance Association Duck Race at 3 p.m., Proceeds go toward the needs of Green River volunteer EMTs and drivers. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. The ducks cross the finish line at the Green River State Park boat ramp.
Melon Days festival takes place in Green River this weekend
This is an exciting time of year for the city of Green River. This is where the community and city come together to make the event exciting and fun for all who come to town. The town is more like a big family, so they enjoy opening the doors so to speak, to allow others to come in and enjoy the small town like we do everyday. Amazing views, delicious watermelon and a friendly atmosphere.
What: Green River Melon Days festival
When: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 19 and 20
Where: O.K. Anderson Park, Clark Street, Green River