Watermelon Festival opens in Murfreesboro

Published 8:16 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

MURFREESBORO, N.C.— Percy and Lynette Bunch of Murfreesboro 25 years ago hatched the idea for a watermelon festival, which has evolved into an event they never imagined.

Owners of Murfreesboro Farms, the Bunches will join thousands for the 2010 North Carolina Watermelon Festival, which runs from today, July 28, through Sunday, July 31, in Murfreesboro.

In 1986, Percy Bunch — whose main crops are peanuts and watermelons — joined forces with others for a parade and festival that lasted four hours. It was held in honor of Whitney Cuthbertson from Murfreesboro, who had won the state watermelon queen title.

Over the years, the Bunch family — with help from a planning committee and the Town of Murfreesboro — saw the Watermelon Festival expand to four full days of food and entertainment.

The festival’s opening day will feature the Band of Oz from 8 to 11 p.m. on the Broad Street stage.

Also on Wednesday, Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce’s barbecue dinner will be held from 4 to 7 p.m., Hot Cakes Band will play at 5 p.m. and amusement rides and midway open at 6. The food court opens at 5 p.m. “Melon,” a Bingo type game, starts at 7:30 p.m., featuring prizes and hosted by the Ladies Division of the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce.

An opening ceremony will be conducted at 7 p.m.

Thursday is “Thanks to Our Virginia Friends Night.” The TFC Band will play at 8 p.m. for the street dance. That day’s agenda also features a fish dinner sponsored by Murfreesboro Rotary Club from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be another round of Melon hosted by Murfreesboro Historical Association. The Moon Shine Band will play at 5 p.m. Amusement rides and the food court will open at 5.

Friday the crafts/antiques fair opens at noon. The Rhythm Sensations Cloggers performs at noon followed by disc jockey Wayne Cook. Cross Cut will play at 5 p.m., and The Embers will play at 8.

Also scheduled is Caroline White, who will perform selections from the Broadway show “Annie” at 6:30.

Jefcoat Museum will serve the day’s main meal — pork barbecue and fried chicken at 4 p.m. The midway area opens at 6 p.m.

Saturday opens at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at Murfreesboro Baptist Church and ending with the Pizazz Band performing from 8 to 11 p.m. on the main stage.

In between is the state’s largest agricultural parade, beginning at10 a.m. on Main Street. Percy Bunch will serve as the grand marshal. There will be a 5K road race, the crowning of the 2010 Watermelon Princess, the selection of Little Mr. and Miss Farmer, watermelon eating and seed spitting contests, a Guitar Hero contest, amusement rides and fireworks at 9:15 p.m.

For the 25th consecutive year, hot fudge cake topped with ice cream will be served by Murfreesboro Historical Association.

Also, be sure to visit the main tent where free slices of homegrown watermelon will be served.

Admission is free. Parking is available in downtown Murfreesboro, a short walk to the festival .grounds.