Watermelon Festival this weekend

Ashley Hunter
ECB Publishing, Inc.

Get out your festival gear, grab the sunscreen and prepare for the 69th Annual Jefferson County Watermelon Festival this weekend!
While the pageants to select this year's Watermelon Queens have already taken place, as well as the kick-off dinner, bed race and rodeo, this upcoming weekend will be full of fun and entertainment for all ages.
Starting the weekend off on Thursday, June 13, the Monticello Woman's Club will be hosting it’s annual festival luncheon and fashion show at the Monticello Opera House.
The luncheon and show will be an opportunity for local boutique owners to show off their fashionable wares while guests enjoy a delicious lunch.
Tickets for the 12 p.m. lunch will be $15 per plate; there will also be raffles and door prizes.
Skip ahead to Friday, June 14 for the next round of festivities with the Watermelon Festival Rotary Barbecue at 5 p.m.
While vendors set up for Saturday's festival, locals are invited to enjoy barbecued pork, baked beans, corn on the cob, coleslaw and a homemade dessert at the Monticello Opera House.
Tickets will be $10 for adults and $5 for children aged 10 and under.
The dinner will take place from 5-8 p.m.
Then, at 6:30 p.m. and after eating your fill of barbecue, skip on over to 320 N. Cherry St. (located behind Rancho Grande), for the Ultimate Air Dog Show.
Local and visiting canines will be leaping through the air, defying gravity and retrieving toys while making splashes in the large pool that has been set up for this event.
Dogs of all breeds and all sizes are encouraged to swim, so think your water dog has what it takes to compete? It's never to late to register your canine for a chance to make some splashes!
Friday night will be full of lots of other entertainment as well, as the street dance will kick off at 7:30 p.m. with local-favorite, Baby Gray performing at the intersection of Cherry and High streets.
Baby Gray will continue rocking out dance-worthy music until around 9:30 p.m.
After Baby Gray's street dance concert, go home and get some rest, because first thing Saturday morning on June 15, The First Bank will be hosting the Watermelon Festival's pancake breakfast at 7 a.m.
Delicious, fluffy pancakes will be flipped off the griddle by pancake world record holder, Chris Cakes.
The Chris Cakes chefs will be awing breakfast-fans as they griddle cook dozens of pancakes within minutes, flipping the fluffy cakes off the griddle and onto plates.
All-you-can-eat pancake plates will only be $7 per adults and $5 per children under the age of 12. Plates will include sausage and coffee or juice.
As always, individuals who serve in law enforcement, the military, as first responders, or are employed with the City of Monticello are invited to come eat free of charge.
While some festival-attendees are enjoy syrupy pancakes, others will be lacing up their running shoes and stretching in order to participate in the 2019 Kiwanis 5K Melon Run, which will start at 8:15 a.m.
Registration for the 5K will be held at the First United Methodist Church, located on Highway 90 and South Water Street, starting at 7 a.m.
The cost to register as a runner is $25, and those who register first will get the chance to receive a special Watermelon Festival t-shirt (shirts will be provided on a first come, first serve basis).
Awards will be presented to the first three male and female runners in each age group as well as to the Top Male, Top Female, Overall Masters, Grandmasters and Local.
For more information, contact the watermelonrun@gmail.com and to preregister, contact the Monticello-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce at monticellojeffersonfl.com.
Got a young or old antique car enthusiast? You won't want to miss the annual Antique Car Show, which will be held in the parking lot of The First Bank from 10 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.
The show, hosted by the Tallahassee Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America, will be a chance for local and visiting automobile owners with antique or unique cars to show off their rides.
An awards ceremony for the vehicles as well as a cash raffle drawing will be held at noon.
The event everyone, young and old, looks forward to, will start at 10 a.m. - the Watermelon Festival parade!
Business owners, law enforcement, local leaders, first responders, nonprofit organizations, churches, community groups and individuals all come together to make this parade a looked-forward-to event for all ages.
This year, with the theme of “Our Town,” the parade will ride up South Jefferson Street, round the courthouse and tour the downtown sector of Monticello.
Be sure to stake your place out early, as the parade will begin at 10 a.m. Sharp!
After the parade rolls through town, awards will be presented for the Best Merchant, Best Civic or Group Organization, Most Unusual floats as well as a Spirit Award, a Best Theme award and a Best in Parade award.
Each category will win $40, with the Best in Parade winner being presented with $100.
Watermelon Pageant winners, as well as the winners of the Baby Photo Contest and Dog Photo Contest will be spotlighted during the parade.
Be sure to wave to this year's Watermelon Festival Parade Grand Marshal, Nan Baughman.
A Jefferson County local and tireless community partner who has served with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, with the Jefferson Senior Citizens Center board of directors, as a member and past president of the Altrusa Club of Monticello and as a member of the Jefferson County Refuge House, Baughman is a worthy marshal for this year's 69th annual parade.
After the parade passes, there will still be plenty of festivities to enjoy, such as the official opening of the Watermelon Festival Vendor Village until 4 p.m., more Ultimate Air Dog shows at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and the Members Art Exhibit at the Jefferson Arts Gallery, located at 575 W. Washington St.
At 11 a.m., the festival's platform events will take place, featuring more funky, soulful rocking from Baby Gray until 3 p.m.
If you have a chance, be sure to stop by the Monticello Opera House for a special performance of the Children's Theater, as the Monticello Acting & Dance Company (MADCO) produces their newest musical: Seussical, Jr., at 11:30 a.m.
The cast members will bring all the classic Dr. Seuss characters to life in this charming, zany tale that stars Horton the Elephant, the Cat in the Hat, Yertle the Turtle, Gertrude McFuzz, Mayzie La Bird and the Grinch.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children; all children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
This performance is a sure-delight for Seuss fans of all ages and a perfect way to escape the summer heat for a indoor treat.
If you choose to wander around the vendor village for a bit, the next planned event will be the annual wacky watermelon games – which always produces plenty of laughter from game players and audience members.
Game participants will compete in games to test their athletic abilities or their watermelon-eating prowess.
Each year is a surprise of wacky fun, and whether you plan to play or intend to just watch, this isn't a spectacle to miss!
The games start at 1:30 p.m., and will be held on Cherry Street.
Whether you are planning to shop at local vendor booths and purchase artisan and handmade arts and crafts, or whether you want to dig into watermelon slices during the wacky watermelon games, there is something to delight all ages and to look forward to this weekend.
This community event is a perfect opportunity to enjoy hometown fellowship with other county residents, to listen to live music or eat good food – all within one fun-packed weekend.
Grab a neighbor or an out-of-county friend and tell them, “see you at this weekend's Watermelon Festival in Jefferson County!”