By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, August 8, the 71st Annual Rush Springs Watermelon Festival will be held at Jeff Davis Park, Rush Springs, OK in Grady County. The event is chaired by Rush Springs native and former Oklahoma state representative and gubernatorial candidate, Joe Dorman. The festival includes a variety of family friendly events from August 6 – 8.
The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival began in 1940 and has been held continuously since 1948. It has become one of the most popular festivals in the state.
Saturday events will kick off at 7:30 a.m. with the 7th annual 5K Watermelon Run and 1 Mile Fun Run. Proceeds benefit the funds to replace the school running track, which is open to the community.
The fee for the 5K is $20 and a race T-Shirt can be purchased for $5. Registration for the Fun Walk is $15. Online registration will close at 10 p.m. on Thursday August 6.
Registration will also be available on the day of the race beginning at 6:30 a.m. Packets can be picked up beginning at 6:30 a.m. To register online, visit www.watermelonrun.com.
Online registration is available via PayPal or by check or money order, payable to the Rush Springs Lions Club. Mail to P.O. Box 1092, Rush Springs, OK 73082. Paper registration forms are available by request via email.
Sponsored by the Rush Spring Lions Club, The Watermelon Festival opening ceremonies begin at 9 a.m. Little Mr. & Miss Rush Springs will be selected from local kids at a contest beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The 2015 Rush Springs Watermelon Queen is Miss Sydney Long. She is the 16-year-old daughter of Regina and Shannon Long. Sydney will be a junior at Rush Springs High School this fall. She has also held the titles of Little Miss Rush Springs and Miss Rodeo Rush Springs.
The seed spitting contest will be on the main stage at noon and it’s open to all who wish to compete. Trophies will be awarded to each of the winners.
The prize melon auction will take place at 5 p.m. Sydney Long will receive her 2015 Watermelon Queen crown at 7 p.m.
The day will include musical entertainment, a car & tractor show, a carnival, an arts & crafts vendor fair and various food stands sponsored by local youth programs.
Dorman said, “One addition we will have this year is a voting booth for you to cast a ballot deciding if watermelon is a fruit, a vegetable, undecided or delicious.
“We will also be selling raffle tickets for a to-be-determined item and the proceeds will also go to help repair the school track.”
According to Dorman, watermelon will be served during the event for $1 a slice, which is about one-quarter of a melon.
Other events include a rodeo on Thursday and Friday, August 6 and 7 and a Rodeo Parade on Friday August 9 at 5 p.m.
For more information, call 580-476-3745