Watermelon Festival rolls into town next weekend
DeSoto's Watermelon Festival is two weeks away and organizers say this year's celebration will be the biggest yet.
The annual festival will kick off Aug. 24 at 6 p.m. at Miller Park with the opening of the carnival rides. Festival Chairman Marge Morse said there would be rides suitable for all ages, including a large Ferris Wheel that was not available last year.
Thursday night will be wristband night. For a $12 entry fee, patrons can get on as many rides as they want until the carnival closes at 10 p.m.
Friday night will offer more of a variety of activities, Morse said.
"We've just got a ton of stuff going on Friday evening," she said. "There should be something for everyone."
The Carnival rides will open Friday at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. live entertainment will begin on ball field "A" The first attraction will be the Wind Wizards. The group will present a kite-flying show.
Following the kite demonstration, audience members will be taken back in time with a group of Civil War re-enactors. Finally, Native American Lori Tapahanso will entertain the crowd with her Navajo storytelling.
The tennis courts will be used as a makeshift dance floor Friday night for a community street dance beginning at 8 p.m. Morse described the band, Witness, as an easy-listening band, but said the dance music will consist of "a little bit of everything."
The carnival rides will be open again Saturday morning, following the Watermelon Festival Parade at 10 a.m.. The parade will begin in the downtown area and proceed through to Miller Park.
Entries for the parade were still being accepted, Morse said. Anyone interested in entering a float, car or marching group should contact Pat Atchison at 583-1113.
The Crafts booths will also open at 10 a.m. Saturday. Morse said 65 vendors had already signed on for the arts and crafts show.
For the more mechanically inclined, a car and motorcycle show will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Saturday's street dance will begin at the tennis court at 8 p.m. The Kicks Band will provide the dance music.
The final day of the festival on Sunday will include a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. at ball field "B." The breakfast will be followed by a non-denominational community church service at 9:30 a.m.
Morse recommended residents bring lawn chairs to church service and to the shows throughout the festival.
The Watermelon Festival Committee will hold a fundraiser on Saturday. Festival volunteers will be outside the post office and the Apple Market Grocery Store from 9 to 11 a.m., selling items such as cupcakes, muffins and T-shirts.