Hampton County
                Watermelon Festival

                    June 20th - 28th, 2015
                             2015 Festival Theme:
 Outdoor Life In Hampton County


Check out current Festival News Below!

             2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee

              Miss Hampton County                                                                                     Miss Teen Hampton County 
              Watermelon Festival                                                                                             Watermelon Festival
  Maryanna Hatcher                                               Kenzie Rachel Hiers

                                                                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Jen DeLoach & Southern Girl Studios
    2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival "Melon Belles"
Top of stairs down: Melon Belle coordinators Chinon Condor & Kristen Rentz
Front Row: Jamie Padgett, Rachel Cope, Kenzie Hiers, Cassie Kemmerlin, Marllie DeLoach,Brittany Kinard, Windee Hill, Lainey Johnson, Christy Rooker, Briana Buckner
Back Row: Faith Doctor, Maddy Terry, Faith Rea, Emily Wilson, Michaela Condor, Leanora Bishop, Sarah Gohagan, Marybeth Hiers, Leanna Tebeau
Not Pictured: Hunter Cook, Julianna Corbin, Madelyn Corbin, Jenny Schaffer

2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival "Melon Beaus"
Left to right: Matthew Altman, Cameron Poston, Brett Terry, Grayson Cook, Parker Rentz, Brenden Strother, Eric Mulligan








 2015 Watermelon Festival NEWS! 
       Festival Committee set 2015 theme;
           names Parade Grand Marshal
Posted 2.26.15                                                                                                                                         story by Michael DeWitt, Jr.
    Hampton County, with its plentiful pineland acreage, teeming wetlands, 440-acre Lake Warren State Park and a trio of vast, state-managed Wildlife Management Areas, has selected the theme for its 2015 Watermelon Festival: "The Outdoor Life in Hampton County." The 73rd edition of this fine South Carolina festival tradition is set for June 20-28, 2015, and is beckoning to all lovers of wild, open-air spaces and Southern small town charm.
     Break the stifling monotony of those long June days by trekking to quaint Hampton County, nestled on the back porch of the South Carolina Lowcountry between the rivers Salkehatchie and Savannah, where you can enjoy an adorable "kiddie" parade, the Taste of Hampton County smorgasbord, a fishing contest, a pet show, the Battle of the Towns, a mud run, a free street dance and what just may be the longest parade in the Palmetto State - covering 2.4 miles and two towns! And the Grand Marshal of this year's parade - which is scheduled to be televised on Savannah's WTOC Channel 11 - is well known in outdoor circles: Hampton County native Sidney Jones, a retired S.C. Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officer who during his career was beloved by the law abiding, feared by the lawless and respected by all.
     From the hardcore hunter and freshwater enthusiast to the gentle birdwatcher and hiker, there is something for every nature lover to sample here in this serene corner of the coastal region. While you're in town for the festival you can enjoy hiking, fishing or nature watching at local blackwater rivers, scenic Lake Warren, and top-notch professionally guided hunting plantations; or venture deeper into the wild to hunt and fish public lands at Webb, Palachucola and Hamilton Ridge WMAs in Garnett.
     Come and stay all week. We've got plenty of room, lots of fresh air and a few thousand pounds of ice-cold watermelon! Founded in 1939 and organized entirely by volunteers since, the Watermelon Festival is online at
- Courtesy of Michael DeWitt, Jr., Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee volunteer and South Carolina Wildlife contributor

  Fest Committee Wraps Up 2014 Edition
Posted 8.12.14
Hampton—The 2014 version of the Hampton County Watermelon Festival officially came to a close last week as the Festival Committee held it’s Wrap-up Meeting. 
     This year’s final report was not a good one for the Festival with the final totals showing approximately a $6,500 loss for the 2014 year.
    “Low turnouts at key events, high temperatures, insurance increases and the lack of a carnival were our biggest problems this year,” said Festival Chairman Jimmie Polk. “Some of these problems are out of our control while other issues we may be able to work on and correct for 2015.”
     One of the biggest problems in 2014 was due to insurance premiums more than doubling for covered events. “Last year we were misquoted on our insurance coverage and when they came back to us this year for the 2014 quote they explained that to us but unfortunately the cost had more than doubled. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, that’s just what the cost is,” said Polk. Next year we will see if we can get a better deal but we don’t know yet that we can.”
     The lack of a carnival and low fan turnout at this year’s Mud Run didn’t help matters either from a money standpoint. 
     “The low turnout at the Mud Run this year was due to a scheduling conflict with some other competitions going on in the area,” stated Polk. “Several of our regular driver’s here were out of town competing in a fairly high paying competition the night before. They chose to bypass us this year in favor of that competition. There were also races schedule the weekend before us and the weekend after us. That doesn’t help either when you are trying to draw in spectators. You have to remember that these racers bring a huge following with them. When 5-6 of the driver’s don’t show and they are bringing an average of 25-50 or more people with them, that are paying $10 each to get in, then you may be talking 300 less people on hand. That adds up to at least $3000 less income to the Festival. That’s a big hit for us. Keep in mind that the Mud Run basically pays for the Street Dance every year. That didn’t happen this year.”
     As to the Festival Carnival it didn’t happen this year at all. Polk said, “The Carnival was a no-show this year because of a lack of space that was conveniently located to downtown.” Jimmie continued, “This is all about liability. The Festival doesn’t own space downtown so it’s an issue of using someone else’s property and that’s not an easy thing to do. Very often I think people would like to help but in this day and age of ‘sue happy’ thinking it makes it very difficult for folks to let you use their property and I can’t blame them for that. Last year’s location (behind Open Arms Church on Hwy 601) is still available to us but we had a lot of complaints last year about it being out of town and not downtown where everything else was going on. Believe me when I say we did exhaust every possibility last year (including considering putting it on Jackson Ave. in front of Hampton 1st Baptist Church past the food vendors) but nothing would work out for us. This is a problem we will try to find a solution for because losing the Carnival means losing about $3000 for the Festival.
    Not everything was bad news for 2014. The Festival is financially sound despite last year’s loss with a $38,000 reserve fund still intact. A suggestion was made that the Festival needs to seek out more corporate sponsorships, not just locally but regionally from companies such as Walmart, Fred’s, Goody’s, Direct TV, Dish, Network, Comcast, Coke, Pepsi, etc. “There is money out there, we just need to go get it,” said Festival Webmaster Chris Haulsee. “Many of these companies take lots of money out of this county. Maybe we can get a little back from them for a good cause.” 
     Haulsee agreed to get a list of all corporate and business sponsors from the Beaufort Water Festival as a possible guide for business recruitment as well as their tiered donation structure.
     Other ideas were tossed around on ways to generate income for the Festival without spending a lot of money. One idea was a ‘Cornhole’ Tournament. Haulsee said that someone had approached him about it and even offered to help make it happen. It was also suggested that admission for teams and individuals to compete could be charged and trophies are small cash prizes could be awarded to the winners.
     Participation increases were discussed and it was decided that those wishing to order a float through the Festival would pay $350 for the float. The old fee was $335. With the increase the Festival will still only be making $35 per float. It was also noted that the float company used by the Festival has been informed that they are to no longer rent directly to individuals as it has caused an extreme amount of billing problems with the Festival and the float company. The float company agrees with this new procedure and says that from now on they will direct ant Watermelon festival customers to the Festival Committee.
    As always there is a need for new blood on the Festival Committee. The Committee has lost two valued members again this year due to retirement. If you are interested in volunteering as an Events Chairman or as an Events Helper then please come to the next meeting. That date has not yet been decided on but will be posted in the near future. If anyone has any new ideas or an idea for the 2015 theme, please feel free to contact any current Committee member with your suggestion.
     The dates for the 2015 Hampton County Watermelon Festival are June 20th – 28th, 2015.









                                                                                  Visitors to this site  
Website Builder