2014 Rush Springs Annual Watermelon Festival. This event is always on the second full weekend of August. Thursday August 7th through Saturday August 9th are this year's dates. A special guest has been scheduled for Saturday. Various events bring an average of 15k visitors to this tiny town in rural Western Oklahoma. This is an all ages event. This is a classic small town ritual, which involves the selection and crowning of two queens, food and good times. The festival page is here, http://www.mac-vincent.com/Festival.htm created and managed by Mac Vincent. The Facebook page is created and managed by Charla Gilleand https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rush-Springs-Watermelon-Festival/230455853643526
Thursday there is a free parade through downtown Rush Springs, Oklahoma, which in the past has been followed by a reunion supper for all area high school graduates and their families.
Friday, there is a Rodeo http://www.travelok.com/rodeos featuring local riders and live entertainment. Rodeoconcessions will be by the High School Band Boosters, under Becky Fitzgerald. Reginal Long is managing the Rodeo Queen Contest.
Saturday is considered to be the "big day" by many because the day begins with the 5k Watermelon Run http://www.watermelonrun.com/ at 7:15am and various and sundry contests will continue all day. There is a special guest expected for the crowning of the Queen. The late afternoon is when the coveted free watermelon slices are distributed by custom, until the supply is exhausted.
Only one Watermelon Queen was selected from four other high school age girls who must be community residents. Kayleigh Jordan, Kaylee Large, Emily Keys and Audrie Hampton. Large won, and assumed her crown from the former Queen, Britany Ball in May so that she could fulfill her duties of being an ambassador for the crop up until the festival. Here is a sample of Miss Large on the road to participate in a morning news show in North Texas. www.clipsyndicate.com/video/play/5252193. Her self described role is to help promote the event, help with the tot and other contests, participate in the entertainment, and offer general good will to residents and visitors alike.
The Saturday events at the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival include live entertainment, eating watermelon, seed spitting event, watermelon art carvings and a traditional prize for various categories of successful watermelon including best in show. There are arts and crafts shown from 100 or so vendors. Various items for sale or auction, many representing the watermelon theme. There is a live tots contest for various ages of Little Mr. and Little Miss Rush Springs. These events are free to attend.
There will be a carnival which Great Plains Events will present, with rides, games and fair food. Other food vendors will also be present, with a wide variety of foods served. Many are philanthropic to specific organizations listed below so money raised benefits certain groups. All these activities are per item fees to participate or eat.
Festival Chairman is Mike Zurline (405) 570-8056 and Dan Williams, assistant.
Lion's Club President: Renee Hoover-Payton
The free melon stand: managed by Mike Zurline. This includes the cut, free wedges of melon given away beginning at 4p.
Stage Show: Robert Newman
Arts and Crafts: Rhonda Keenan
Carnival: Conn Goodwin
Queen sponsor and scheduled appearances: Jamie Beard
Watermelon displays: Lisa McAdoo and Joe Allen Jones
Food Booths Kim Duke and Renee Hoover-Payton
Purchase watermelon: Raymond Rust
Queen Crowning will be by gubernatorial candidate, Democrat, Joe Dorman a native of Rush Springs, is the special guest. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Dorman
City Liaisons: Brian Hale and Linda Nichols
Tiny Tots multi event contests Charla Gilliand
Seed Spitting: Jimmy Williams ( there is only one credentialed seed spitting contest in the United States http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Watermelon-Eating+and+Seed-Spitting+Contest)
Hamburger Stand, Sheryl Hampton
Coke Stand, Rush Springs HS Cheer Squad
Kettle Corn, Monarch Club under Janice Strange
Indian Tacos Cox City Baptist Church, under Betty Crab http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/NavajoFryBread.htm
Sliced Melons, Mac Zurline
Lemonade, Tea and ice truck, Seniors, Class of 2015, under Sheryl Hampton
Hot Dogs, by the Junior Cheer Squad under Rachel Matthis
BBQ by the HS Athetic Club http://fcg-bbq.blogspot.com/2009/08/oklahoma-barbecuea-unique-style.html
Fried Pies, by the Assembly of God Youth Group under Teresa Ford http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fried_pie
Watermelon Punch and Baked Goods under the Children's group of the Church of God.
Coke Stand SOUTH by the HS Band, under Becky Fitzgerald
Here is last year's event http://www.examiner.com/article/rush-springs-hosts-it-s-67th-annual-watermelon-festival