Two festivals on opposite ends of the state celebrate the arrival of the ripe watermelon this weekend. Hope will be hopping for its 30th annual festival in Southwest Arkansas, while Cave City in North Arkansas parties for the 27th straight year with free watermelon and fun activities.
Hope’s festival runs from Thursday to Sunday, Aug. 10-13, at the town’s Fair Park, and admission is free. Parking is $2.
Besides ice cold watermelon by the slice and watermelon eating and seed-spitting contests, there are more than 200 arts and crafts booths planned, live music on two outdoor stages, a 5K run-walk, food, children’s events, baseball card show, softball tournament, antique car and engine show, and gospel music on Thursday and Sunday.
Thursday’s activities include music by Alchemy outside, and a 7:30 p.m. gospel concert inside the coliseum with such performers as Margie Dansby’s Gospel Train with Margie Dansby, Rev. Ingram & Trinity, the Magnolia Central Steppers and the Stepping Wonders,
Classic country star Ace Cannon is Friday’s headlining music act, with Megan Estes, Nighthawk and the Cameron Stovall Show featuring Rudy Preston. Cannon goes on at 8 p.m. Country singer Billy Joe Royal headlines the entertainment on Saturday at 8 p.m., with plenty of other music starting at 9 a.m., including the Old School Bluegrass Band. Music on Sunday begins at 11 a.m., with Surefooted and Mary and the Summerville Singers. Gospel singing on another stage starts at 1 p.m. with Mercy’s Mark Quartet, the Good Life Singers and the Hempstead County Melody Boys.
For more information, call 870-777-3640 or visit www.hopemelonfest.com on the Internet.
Cave City’s long-running festival includes crafts, a car show and live entertainment, with country bluegrass and gospel music, at the city park Thursday through Saturday. The watermelon judging begins at 6 p.m. Thursday, and the opening night’s music features Rockin’ Luke Stroud at 6:30 p.m. and rockabilly greats Sonny Burgess and the Pacers at 8 p.m. During the music each night, a variety of prizes and cash will be given away in drawings.
Angie Penny and Kelly McGuire are Friday night’s music. Saturday’s events start at 6 a.m. with the Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast in the Bank of Cave City parking lot, the Cave City Cruisers antique car show at the park, a 10 a.m. parade, 11 a.m. political forum, and a full afternoon and night of gospel music. The free watermelon feast begins at 4 p.m., and the prize melon is auctioned at 5 p.m., with money going to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
For more information, call 870-283-5959.