2014 Watermelon Festival NEWS!
Festival Committee Counting Down
To Zero Hour!
Hampton— The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee is busy preparing for the start of this year’s Festival. The 72nd Annual Watermelon Festival will be held June 14th – 22nd and officially kicks off with the Opening Ceremonies and Family Fun Day on Saturday the 14th from 10:00am until 2:00pm at Lake Warren State Park.
The Festival Committee met last week to begin wrapping up the final details for this year and will have their final pre-Festival meeting this Thursday at the Hampton United Methodist Church Social Hall at 7:00pm. Here are some of the highlights from last week’s meeting:
A two-day entertainment program will be held at the Hampton Gazebo across from the Courthouse. The entertainment, which features everything from demonstrations of programs at the Hampton County Rec Department to Bluegrass and Gospel music, will be on Friday evening from 7-9pm and on Saturday from 12:30-3pm. As always, watermelon slices will be given away on Saturday during the show!
The Festival will not host a Carnival this year due to logistic and liability issues. Last year the Carnival had to find a new location that was some distance from downtown activities. The Festival Committee searched high and low for a new, closer location, but was able to secure one from any downtown landowners.
WTOC-Savannah will again broadcast the Watermelon Festival Parade. The broadcast should begin at 10:00am and wrap up at around 12:00noon. Hampton County resident and Studio Z owner ZoE McCrary will be part of the broadcast team.
The Festival website, hcmelonfest.org, is completely updated with all event applications listed on the Application Page. Citizens are encouraged to download your applications for the Crafts Contest, Decorated Door & Business Showcase Contest, Taste of Hampton County, Festival Parade, 5K run and any other event that requires an application and get them turned in immediately.
Family Fun Day will have a new edition this year. Coca-Cola will be on hand offering product samples and will provide inflatables and games for the kids to enjoy. Palmetto State Bank will again provide free hot dogs and drinks for as long as they last.
Last but not least, Festival merchandise is on sale with t-shirts and (new item) garden flags. Items can be purchased at Ulmer’s Feed and Seed, and The Frock Shop in Hampton and the Styling Salon in Varnville. Photos of the t-shirt colors and logos and the garden flags can be found on the website at hcmelonfest.org.
The Festival Committee asks that you please attend this year’s 72nd annual Watermelon Festival and enjoy the weeklong schedule of events!
72nd Festival Queens Named
Maryanna Hatcher Kenzie Rachel Hiers
Hampton—The 72nd annual Hampton County watermelon Festival is pleased to announce that they have named their 2014 Miss Hampton County Watermelon festival and Teen Miss Hampton County Watermelon Festival. The two young ladies that have been chosen for this honor are Hampton resident Miss Maryanna Hatcher (Miss Queen) and Varnville’s Kenzie Rachel Hiers (Teen Miss). Maryanna is the daughter of David and Susan hatcher. Kenzie is the daughter of Terry Hiers and Robin Taylor.
Maryanna Hatcher- Maryanna is a home school graduate and plans to attend Clemson University through the OC Tech Pipeline Program. She wants to major in Food Science.
Maryanna had this to say about her endeavors, “I graduated with honors from our state home school association. While in high school I participated in 4-H earning a silver medal on our Robotics Team. I participated in summer mission trips and volunteer every year at the Hampton County Library Annual Book Sale each fall.
Maryanna went on to say, “I am a mentor coach for the Patrick Henry Academy Robotics Team and am a former Miss Hampton. In the past I hae been a Children’s Choir leader, a stage director for numerous plays and musical productions, and I volunteer each summer at a camp for “at-risk” children.”
That’s not all that Maryanna does. She is also a member of Lawtonville Baptist Church and enjoys photography and writing. She has the ability to use sign language and movement in teaching music, does DIY home remodeling and in her spare time (when she has some), Maryanna enjoys cooking and baking homemade bread.
When it comes to life ambitions, Maryanna says that she would like to pursue a degree in Food Science. “I would love to help my community take advantage of organic farming and the science of how the human body used whole foods to heal itself.”
Kenzie Rachel Hiers- Kenzie also has a full schedule each day. “I am a member of several clubs and organizations at school. I am a member of the Beta Club as well as the Interact Club. I also work with the 4-H Cub, Helping to Overcome, and I am a member of the Wade Hampton Volleyball team.”
Kenzie also takes part in several activities outside of school which include being a past member of the Watermelon Festival “Melon Belles”, 4-H, mission trips, the Open Arms After School program and Brunson After School program. Kenzie attends Open Arms Fellowship Church is an avid reader and has hobbies such as technology and exercise. Along with all of that she enjoys spending time with animals and her family.
Career-wise, Kenzie says she would like to choose a career that will help her to be independent and develop skills that will help others in society. She is planning to attend the University of South Carolina and major in Bio-Medical Technology.
It's MAY! and the Festival is just around the corner!
Hampton— The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee held their monthly meeting last week as they continue to make plans for this year’s 72nd annual Festival. Several things were discussed and here are some of the highlights from the meeting.
This year’s Street Dance has been cut back by an hour and will be held on Lee Avenue from 9:00pm until midnight. The featured bands this year are The Swingin’ Medallions on the beach music/top 40 end of the street and the Ace of Clubs will be the featured country band. After such a great response with the DJ on Mulberry Street the Festival Committee has decided to again add that attraction for the younger set.
The Poker Run is officially back on again this year with the start/stop point being at Jimmy Butler’s Auto Sales in Midway. The ride is sponsored by Advance Auto Parts of Hampton and will be held on June 7th. Cost for the ride is $15 per bike and $10 for an additional rider. There will be a hotdog/hamburger cookout following the ride and prizes will be awarded for “Best Hand” and “Worst Hand.” There will also be a 50/50 raffle. Registration time is 10:30am and first bike out is at 12:00 noon.
Family Fun Day will kick-off the Festival again this year on June 14th at Lake Warren State Park beginning at 10:00am. This year’s Opening Ceremonies guest speakers will include State Representative Bill Bowers along with this year’s parade Grand Marshals, Dr. Glenn Welcker and Lawtonville Baptist Church Reverend Joe Hester. Palmetto State Bank will again provide free lunch.
Among the queens in attendance this year will be newly named Miss Hampton County Watermelon Festival Maryanna Hatcher and Teen Miss Hampton County Watermelon Festival Kenzie Hiers. Along with the two local lovelies will be Brooke Allender, this year’s South Carolina Watermelon Queen.
Another new addition will feature local talent that will perform Friday evening and after the parade on Saturday at the Hampton Gazebo. The Friday night portion will be before and up to the beginning of the Street Dance. Bring a chair and enjoy the show.
If you would like to enter a float in this year’s Parade, they are still for rent. If interested, please contact Breeze Winn at 943-2344 and he will help you with your selection.
The next Festival Committee meeting will be held on Thursday, June 5th at 7:00pm at the Hampton Methodist Church Social Hall on Mulberry Street in Hampton. Volunteers are welcome and if you are already a volunteer this meeting is mandatory.
Committee introduces 5 new members; Update
Hampton— The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee met last week and was proud to introduce five new committee members, four of which plan to revive two events that have been on hiatus for over two years.
Beth Chafin and Kim Sinclair have joined the committee with the intention of bringing back the “Decorated Door & Business Showcase” contest. “Mary Ellis ran this event for years before moving to Columbia,” said Festival Webmaster Chris Haulsee. “After Mary left we didn’t have any other committee members that could pick it up and no one in the community stepped up and took it over. It’s great to see new people on the committee. This is the shot in the arm that we need to get more help with putting on this Festival. It is a huge move in the right direction,” Haulsee added.
Two other new members to the Festival Committee are Catherine Priester and ZoE McCrary, with the two taking on the Crafts Contest which has also been of the Festival schedule for a couple of years.
“We just want to see the Festival survive and grow,” Priester said. “There’s a lot of community pride when it comes to the Watermelon Festival and some of us want to help and be a part of that. The Crafts Contest is a huge part of the Festival and we need to bring it back. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The fifth new member isn’t doing anything new, he’s taking over an old member’s job.
Newly named Lake Warren State Park Manager, Noah Letter, is taking past manager Harry Hafer’s position on the Festival Committee as liaison between the park and the Festival. Letter, along with Park Ranger Kelli Halsell will aid in hosting Festival events that take place at Lake Warren including Festival Family Fun Day and the Fishing Contest.
In other Festival news:
This year’s Festival theme, “Promoting Physical & Spiritual Wellness”, the Committee has already asked that Dr. Glen Welcker to serve as one of the 2014 Parade Grand Marshals. The other Marshal will be decided on by Lawtonville Baptist Church in Estill.
It was decided at an earlier meeting that a representative of the oldest congregation in Hampton County would provide the other Parade Marshal and after research found that Lawtonville was the oldest continuing congregation. Originally it was determined that Beech Branch Baptist was the oldest but was now located in Allendale County.
The Spring Issue of the Farm Bureau publication “South Carolina Farmer” has an article about the Watermelon Festival in it. Copies of the magazine can be found at the Farm Bureau office in Midway.
This year’s Festival t-shirt design has been decided on. The 2014 version features a church as well as crosses on a hill. There is also a cycler and runner as well as a farmer and watermelons. The shirts will be available in four colors and will also be in regular cut t-shirt and tank-top form. A photo of the design is not ready yet for publication. Check the website at hcmelonfest.org. periodically for updates. Sizes for children and adults will be available and locations for purchase are the same as last year and include Ulmer’s Feed & Seed and The Frock Shop in Hampton and the Styling Salon in Varnville.
The 2014 Family Fun Day will feature a new attraction this year. Melvin Brown aka Jamel the Magician will be performing throughout the day on that Saturday. Jamel is from Arkansas and his goal is to perform in every state in the United Sates. This will be his first time performing in South Carolina.
Ads are still for sale in the Festival Brochure. There is still space for eighth, quarter, half, three-quarter and full page ads. Half and full-page ads are available in color. For more information on ad purchases, please contact Mary Kennedy at Hampton Printing at 803-943-3181.
Applications for Arts & Crafts vendors, food vendors, Little Miss and Master Pageant and the 2014 Parade are now available on the website at hcmelonfest.org.
The country band for the 2014 Street Dance has been decided on. “Ace of Clubs” will perform on the country end of Lee Avenue and DJ Kenneth will be back for the teenagers on Mulberry Street and a decision has not yet been made for the Beach/Top 40 band. Contact with the “Swingin’ Medallions” has been made but nothing has been decided.
The next Watermelon Festival meeting will be held at 7:00pm at the Hampton Methodist Church Social Hall on Thursday, April 10th.
Festival Committee meets; announces updates
On February 6th, the Hampton County Watermelon Festival committee met at the Hampton United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall for their February meeting to discuss ongoing plans for the 72nd Festival to be held June 14th-22nd this year.
First on the evening’s agenda was discussion of the Executive Committee’s decision on raising food vendors permit fees from $300 to $350. That price is for the commercial food vendors located at the Courthouse on the second weekend of the Festival. It was also noted that church or civic organizations will still be charged the same price of $85 while the price for an “Icee” drink or drink vendor will also remain at last year’s fee of $100. Festival Chairman Jimmie Polk also added, “What we also decided was to limit the size of a food vendor’s trailer. If a trailer is over a certain length then the food vendor will have to pay for two spots. We have some folks coming in now with some pretty long trailers that take up an awful lot of room and we need to charge them for it. We aren’t making a huge amount of extra money on this increase, we just need to get what’s fair to the Committee.”
In other Festival business:
Festival Parade applications are now online and can be downloaded at hcmelonfest.org. Just go to the website and click on the Application icon at the top of the page. Scroll down to Parade and click to the link on the right. Click print and the application is yours. Fill it out and return it using the directions provided on the application.
The Committee is still looking for business sponsors to help in televising the Festival Parade, a tradition that has been taking place for several years now. If anyone is interested in their business being showcased during the Festival Parade then please contact Chairman Jimmie Polk by stopping by Polk’s Muffler in Hampton or you can call Jimmie at 803-943-2181. There is an advertising package that is offered that may be advantageous to your business. Spots generally go quick so call Jimmie today.
Mary Kennedy, committee head for the Festival Program Book, wants to remind folks that they are still accepting advertisers for this year commemorative 72nd anniversary Program Book. If your business or organizations is interested, please stop in and see Mrs. Kennedy at Hampton Printing in Five Points or call her at 803-943-3181.
Volunteers are still being asked for by the Festival Committee. Due to retirement and the moving away of some Festival Committee members, a void needs to be filled with some new blood. Event Chairmen as well as help for several events is needed as some events have fallen by the wayside because of the lack of volunteers. If you are interested in becoming a Festival volunteer, the next meeting will be held at 7:00pm on March 6th at the Hampton Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.
Festival goes with Wellness theme for 2014
Hampton, SC- The Hampton County Watermelon Festival has decided on the theme for 2014: The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Promoting Physical & Spiritual Wellness.
“This is a new theme for the Watermelon Festival,” said Festival Chairman Jimmie Polk. “I don’t think we have ever chosen a theme like this before. We plan on tying the hospital, along with other medical services in the county, and the churches in Hampton County. It’s a huge endeavor but it’s one I think we can pull off and be successful with. It’s also a theme that I hope everyone in the county can get involved in.”
While there is much work still to be done with the theme, one thing has been decided on. The Festival Committee has asked Glen Welcker, Chief of Staff at Hampton Regional Medical Center to serve as one of the parade Grand Marshals. The other Grand Marshal, which will be chosen as the spiritual representative, has yet to be determined. The committee has discussed finding a member from the oldest continuing congregation in the county to serve in that capacity. “Our next step is determining which church or congregation is the oldest in the county. We will contact the Hampton Museum and possibly the County Museum to help us figure that out, since they have done extensive work in the past on that topic,” Polk added.
In other Festival news, a new location for the carnival is being looked into as it did not do very well at its new location last year near the old incinerator plant site in Hampton. Several ideas have been tossed around by the committee that was formed to try to locate a new site, but nothing has been pursued.
Spaces for food vendors will be increased for 2014 as the price has not been raised in many years, while arts & crafts vendor space price will remain the same as last year.
This year’s Hampton County Watermelon Festival will be held June 14th through the 22nd.
Polk named new Festival chief
Longtime Hampton County Watermelon Festival Vice-Chairman Jimmie Polk was unanimously named the new Festival Committee chairman at last month’s Festival wrap-up meeting. Polk replaces outgoing Chairman Robert Brown who served in that capacity for last five years.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure to serve as the new chairman,” Polk said. “I’ve been working with the Watermelon Festival for years and look forward to leading the committee as we head into the future. As always we are short handed on many of our committees and I encourage folks to come out and give us a hand. It seems like every time we lose two members that we pick up one new one, at that pace you eventually run out of committee members. We will continue to accept all suggestions and ideas but we also need new blood to replace the folks that have been on the committee for not just years, but in some cases, for decades.”
For years Polk has been the go-to guy for getting things accomplished with the Watermelon Festival. “I know that for the five years that I was chairman I couldn’t have done it without Jimmie, said past Chairman Chris Haulsee. “Jimmie knows how to get things done, whether it’s problems with road closures to running the annual Mud Run. He always liked remaining behind the scenes each year, but now he gets to step into the limelight. Anyone that knows Jimmie will tell you that he’s a pretty outgoing guy but when it comes to being in the public eye he has always shied away from taking any credit for the Festival’s success and accomplishments. I know that he has the Festival’s best interest at heart and will do an excellent job.”
The announcement of Polk as the new chairman was not the only news as Food Concessions Chairman Nancy Meyer was named Polk’s replacement as vice-chairman of the Festival. Of the remaining Executive Committee positions, Cindy Davis remains as secretary, while Alice Hazel will continue her duties as treasurer and Ann Long with remain as member-at-large. Becky Young, who has served for ears on the Festival Committee, will become assistant-to-the-chairman.