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June 20 -
June 28, 2020

Festival History

Excerpts from "The World’s Original Watermelon Festival" By Martha Bee Anderson

  

Hampton County is the home of the world’s original Watermelon Festival. Since 1939, the Hampton County Watermelon Festival has grown to become South Carolina’s oldest continuing festival. From the beginning, it has been a celebration of, for, and by the people of this friendly Lowcountry County, timed to the melon harvest every summer. The tradition was interrupted only twice, first during World War II (1943—45) and again during the Korean War (1951).

History Highlights

  

Going back to the earliest celebrations, among the best attended attractions is always Friday night’s street dance in Hampton. But the crowning event of every Watermelon Festival, of course, is the Miss Coastal Empire pageant. Many a Palmetto State beauty has added to the scenery, including the late U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond’s wife, who came as Miss South Carolina (Nancy Moore of Aiken) in 1966, to the 24th Watermelon Festival.

In 1993...

the festival expanded to eight days, “Sunday to Sunday.” Opening ceremonies were coupled with a new event called “Festival Family Fun Day,” sponsored by the Hampton County Chamber of Commerce and held at Lake Warren State Park. The expansion made the Watermelon Festival the third longest festival in the state.
 

A new beauty is picked to be queen of the Coastal Empire every summer, while the same old King Watermelon reigns in glory! 

2019 Festival Parade

How Sweet It Is

2019 Melon Contest

GRAND CHAMPION

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Carter Parnell

 CRIMSON SWEET 47.6 lbs.

BEST CRIMSON SWEET

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Carter Parnell

 47.6 lbs.

BEST CHARLESTON GRAY

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Jenny Parnell

 33.0 lbs. 

HEAVIEST MELON

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Morgan Parnell

 Jubilee 53.2 lbs. 

BEST JUBILEE MELON

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Jane Youmans

 46.2 lbs. 

BEST OTHER MELON

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Sara Beth Thomas

 Starbrite Variety 49.8 lbs.

2019 Business & Home Decoration Winners

Business 1st Place

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Tompkins Original

Business 2nd Place

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Veteran Owned Real Estate


Business 3rd Place

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Dunamis Karate

Home 1st Place

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Picture To Be Displayed (TBDisplayed)

  Joyce Horres 

Home 2nd Place

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 Nancy Brenner 

Home 3rd Place

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Picture To Be Displayed (TBDisplayed)

 Gordan Rhoden 

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