Hampton County
                Watermelon Festival

      June 17th - 25th, 2017
                            2017 Festival Theme:


    Check out current Festival news below!
      2016 Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee

  2016 Miss Hampton County             2016 Teen Miss Hampton County
        Watermelon Festival        Watermelon Festival

   Meagan Clifton   Alexis Jarrell


   2016 Watermelon Festival News
   Festival ranked #2 in SC by OnlyInYourState.com

Posted 5.22.16      
HAMPTON- www.OnlyInYourState.com has rated the top 13 South Carolina Festivals That Food Lovers Should NOT Miss and the Hampton County Watermelon Festival ended up pretty high on the list.

1. Ware Shoals Catfish Festival Ware Shoals
2. Hampton County Watermelon Festival Hampton
3. Chitlin Strut Salley
4. South Carolina Peach Festival Gaffney
5. Butts & Bluegrass BBQ Clover
6. Columbia's Greek Festival Columbia
7. South Carolina Apple Festival Westminster
8. South Carolina Pecan Festival Florence
9. Little River Shrimp Fest Little River
10. Festival of Discovery, BBQ & Blues Greenwood
11. Ridge Peach Festival Trenton
12. Flopeye Fish Festival Great Falls
13. Palmetto State Chili Cookoff Fountain Inn

Who is OnlyInYourState.com

OnlyInYourState takes a fun, informal approach to helping readers discover things to do in each of the 50 states. OIYS believes there’s an endless amount of incredible places and hidden gems throughout the U.S., and they strive to cover them all. They are read by more than 30,000,000 people per month and have over 5,000,000 Facebook fans across their network. 

    Festival Just A Few Weeks Away; Latest Updates

Posted 5.13.16                                                                                                                                                       By Michael DeWitt

HAMPTON- Wake up, Watermelon Festival lovers! We’ve just been “blessed” with our first 90-degree days, and that means that local watermelons are growing on the vine and it’s high time to get thinking about all the fun you will have at the upcoming 74th Hampton County Watermelon Festival, set for June 18-26. So King Watermelon Head here has some updates that will get your juices flowing and your “melon” thinking about the summer fun ahead!

 Grand Marshals named
    Powered by this year’s theme, “Honoring Our Linemen: Those Who Light Up Our County,” the Festival is pleased to announce two co-grand marshals for this year’s festivities: Aron Winn, a senior lineman from Palmetto Electric Cooperative; and James Gordon, a senior lineman from South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCANA). Read more about these devoted, hard-laboring linemen in this year’s official Watermelon Festival Program Book, and the Hampton County Guardian’s annual Watermelon Festival section, both set to release in June.

 Carnival will return
     Thanks to the hard work of Festival Chairman Robert Brown and his fellow volunteers, and the generosity of the Town of Varnville, the Watermelon Festival Carnival will return! After a two-year hiatus due to the lack of a safe and suitable venue, the carnival will be held in a vacant lot near the Varnville Town Hall. And to add even more sweetness to this delightful watermelon news, the carnival is being planned as a week-long event to begin the first Monday of the festival! More details on this good news to come.

 Watermelon royalty crowned
    As you are out and about in the community, or if you know them personally, please congratulate the newly crowned Miss Hampton County 2016 Meagan Clifton and Teen Miss Hampton County 2016 Alexis Jarrell. They have both been notified of their honor this week and will be formally introduced to the Watermelon Festival Committee at its May 5 meeting. Congratulations, queens!

 Watermelon Festival Book
     As is festival tradition, the planning is underway for the publication of the 2016 Watermelon Festival Book, a souvenir that your mother probably kept and your grandmother and so on…. So if you would like to have any information, advertisements or photos placed in this year’s commemorative book, please contact the festival committee via Facebook at “Watermelon Festival Book” or email us at melonfestbook@gmail.com.

      So that’s enough festival news to plant a seed or two in your imagination. So until next time, keep on dreaming about those Watermelons, Watermelons, Watermelons!

     74th Watermelon Festival planning underway
Posted 2.2.16    

HAMPTON, SC- Even with snow in the air, the Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee is “on top of it” with plans for the 74th Watermelon Festival scheduled for June 18th – 26th.

2016 Dedication

     If you haven’t heard, this year’s event will be dedicated to our local electric linemen. The official dedications reads as such: “Honoring our Linemen: Those Who Light Up Our County."

    “For years, Palmetto Electric and SCE&G have been instrumental in the success of this Festival,” said Festival Chairman Robert Brown. Brown continued, “These folks have donated money, entered floats in the parade, sponsored queens and worked with us on furnishing power wherever needed at any of our events. They have been of great service to us and now it is time to recognize them.”

       As always, the Festival is in search of new volunteers to help with putting on the Festival.
     Festival webmaster, Chris Haulsee had this to say, “It’s a struggle every year to make this Festival work with the number of people we have. Many of our committee members work the entire week on several different event just so we can make it through the Festival each year. New blood is needed if this Festival is to continue, so please come out and help us.” Haulsee also mentioned that meetings are scheduled for 7:00pm the first Thursday of each month at the Hampton United Methodist Church Social Hall.


      20126 applications are now posted on the website at www.hcmelonfest.org. Those available at this time are the Arts/Crafts sales applications, food vendor applications, and Melon Miss/Master applications. Several applications still need to be turned in to the
Festival Webmaster. As soon as they are received they will be posted on the website.

2016 Mud Run
      After such a huge success in Yemassee with last year’s Festival Mud Run, it looks like there will be a repeat performance in our southernmost community. The details haven’t been worked out yet but all ends should be tied up soon.

2016 Street Dance
     Bands have not been selected yet, but there is talk of revamping the Street Dance again. The idea floating around is that a country band may be added again on the end of Lee Ave. for 2016. A DJ will possibly still be used on or adjacent to Lee Ave. while the Beach/Top 40 band will still be on the Courthouse end of Lee Ave. There is talk of possibly moving the DJ to another location and night and having a “Teen Night” which the Festival sponsored many years ago. The jury is still out on this decision.

Misc. Issues
     It looks like the Pet Show may be moved to Wednesday from Thursday. Judging by past numbers, many of the Pet Show spectators also attend the Battle of the Towns, which is immediately after the Pet Show. By moving it to Wednesday the Pet Show only competes with the Bluegrass Concert. The fit should be better as the Bluegrass crowd is usually a little older and the concert is held inside, while the BOTT is more of a family oriented outdoor event.
     There is talk about a new Saturday Night dance event that at this time is only being discussed. Holding an event like this would probably mean an indoor venue such as the National Guard Armory. Again, this is all in the very early planning stages.
     The Committee is looking into having free watermelon slices on Friday afternoon and all day Saturday at the Courthouse. The melons shouldn’t be a problem, but the manpower may be. If you would like to volunteer to help with just this event, please contact a festival committee member or come to our next meeting. Maybe a church group or civic organization would like to help with this.

     The next Watermelon Festival Committee meeting will be held on Thursday, Feb. 4 at 7:00pm at the Methodist Church Social Hall on Mulberry St. in Hampton.

  Palmetto Blue this year's Bluegrass Entertainment
Posted 4.6.16
HAMPTON, SC- Palmetto Blue has been chosen as the Bluegrass entertainment for the 74th Hampton County Watermelon Festival. The concert will take place on Wednesday evening, June 22nd, from 6:00pm until 8:00pm at Open Arms Fellowship Church on Highway 601 North in Hampton. Admission to the event is free.

                                                                     More about Palmetto Blue

South Carolina Bluegrass Band PALMETTO BLUE is a blend of seasoned traditional music veterans mixed with the freshness of youthful band members who have been playing bluegrass music since their childhood. We are serious about having fun while passing along the tradition of our music. Our shows will surely entertain you with old favorites, lively fiddle and banjo tunes that make you want to dance and tap your feet, old time country songs, a capella trio songs, and new songs as well.
     Our band members are no strangers to the traditional music scene. In the 1970s, Chris Boutwell was the lead singer and guitarist for the band High Country, which was the premier west coast bluegrass band and recorded several LPs in the early 1970s on the Warner Brothers label. You will be challenged to find someone who knows the lyrics to more bluegrass songs than Chris. Chris plays mandolin true to the tradition and style of the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. He also knows the history behind the songs he sings, and will give you a bluegrass history lesson if you're interested. Chris is the 2014 recipient of South Carolina's Folk Heritage Award for his dedication to preserving bluegrass music traditions.
     Shellie Davis has been playing the bass and singing in bluegrass bands since she was 8 years old, and will delight you with her sweet vocals. Steve Willis plays banjo in the solid Scruggs style tradition. He learned banjo licks as a teenager from Little Roy Lewis, and won numerous banjo contests during his teens. Our guitarist, Ed Dalton has been playing bluegrass since his youth growing up in the Winston-Salem, NC area. He has won his share of guitar contests over the years, and since moving to South, Carolina, he has been a fixture on the bluegrass music scene.
     Fiddler Ashley Carder learned from local SC fiddlers including Pappy Sherrill and Vernon Riddle, and has been playing a driving style of old time and bluegrass fiddle for over 30 years. Ashley was the 2012 recipient of South Carolina's Folk Heritage Award and has been a member of numerous bands over the years, including South Carolina bluegrass ambassador Bill Wells' band.
     Our dobro player Dr. Larry Klein has been playing bluegrass music for over 40 years. Larry was the 2004 recipient of South Carolina's Folk Heritage Award for bluegrass advocacy, and has been a member of numerous bands over the years, including South Carolina bluegrass ambassador Bill Wells' band. Known as "Dr. Dobro", Larry has also been the host of the weekly SC ETV Radio Show, "The Bluegrass Sound" since the late 1980s.








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