Largest watermelon winners named
While many attendees to this year's 29th Annual What-A-Melon Festival, for the Shelby Johnson family the event is serious business.
But it is still all about the melons for the Shelby County family which took home the bulk of more than $5,000 awarded in the event's largest watermelon competition.
First place went to Olivia Johnson with a melon tipping the scale at 152 pounds. That beauty was large enough to top the field of 22 entries, organizers said.
When the competition was over, members of the Johnson family had all but one of their 14 entries claiming a portion of the prize money. Topping out the top three places were Louise Johnson with a 142.5 pound melon while Whitley Johnson was close behind with a 140 pount watermelon.
The event was kicked off with a ceremonial watermelon cutting and free watermelon to those arriving early at the event.
The list of winners includes:
• 1st place ($2,500) - 152 lbs, Olivia Johnson
• 2nd place ($600) - 142.5 lbs, Louise Johnson
• 3rd place ($500) - 140 lbs, Whitley Johnson
• 4th place ($400) - 135 lbs, Jenny Johnson
• 5th place ($300) - 132.5 lbs, Dylan Jones
• 6th place ($250) - 128.5 lbs, Renee Johnson
• 7th place ($200) - 127.5 lbs, Shelby Johnson
• 8th place ($150) - 126 lbs, Jaleigh Johnson
• 9th place ($100) - 124 lbs, Faith Kruebbe
• 10th place ($80) - 123.5 lbs, Catch Bragg
• 11th place ($70) - 120 lbs, Malcom Brown
• 12th place (60) - 118.5 lbs, (tie) Tate Johnson and Cody Carleta
The festival continues Friday and Saturday with food, vendor booths and, of course, the carnival.
Ride wristbands are $20 per person each night while buttons good for entering the festival grounds are $5.
The Pet Show will be held beginning at 6 p.m. Friday, with sign up is at 5:30 p.m. to enter your favorite pet. Entrants are encouraged to wow the judges by adding a little watermelon style to their pet's stage presence.
Reed Barton, a singer/songwriter from Burleson will take to the stage at 8:30 p.m. Friday. Barton performs a mix of classic country and classic rock music.
The What-A-Melon Fun Run/5K will jumpstart Saturday's activities at 7 a.m. Proceeds from the run will benefit the Shelby County Cancer Fund. Entry forms are available at www.lightandchampion.com. Registration forms can be dropped off at Farmer's State Bank downtown.
What-A-Melon fan favorites - Seed Spitting Contest and Speed Eating Contest is set for 3 p.m. Saturday under the big tent. Folks are encouraged to come out and demonstrate their watermelon seed spitting skills along with who can down their melon slice the fastest.
The What-A-Melon Pageant is 5:30 p.m. Saturday until 7:30 p.m. Registration deadline was this past week.
Last but certainly not least, a Shelby County favorite Zach Mason and the Jars will be performing on stage under the big tent Saturday evening at 8 p.m. and will close out all the festival activities with a live performance that organizers said fans won't soon forget.
The What-A-Melon Festival is hosted by the Center Rotary Club.
Proceeds raised from the What-A-Melon Festival by the Rotary Club of Center are donated back to various organizations in the community to help fight hunger, provide scholarships, support the youth, and more.