Children enjoy fresh watermelon juice from a Sugartown melon, the fruit that serves as the centerpiece for the annual Beauregard Watermelon Festival, set for June 26-28. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, June 19, 2014 11:04 AM
Summertime is synonymous with watermelons in Beauregard Parish and that is a well-deserved title.
Sugartown watermelons are celebrated every summer with the Beauregard Watermelon Festival. Come June 26, the festival will ring in its ninth year with some new surprises, according to Lori Darbonne, executive director of the Beauregard Tourist Commission.
The festival is a uniquely Beauregard Parish experience, she said.
“The love for the Sugartown watermelon has grown so much,” Darbonne said. “It really makes this community proud.”
The three-day festival will feature live performances from the likes of “America’s Got Talent” contestant Sonny the Birdman and Las Vegas magician Ellusionist MX.
Swamp pop acts make up a majority of the live acts, including a performance by Gregg Martinez and the Delta Kings to wrap up the festival on Saturday night, and a comedy performance by Cajun comedian Murray Conque is also planned.
All the entertainment is family-friendly.
The oblong vine-ripened fruit, which comes in both red and yellow varieties, will be the centerpiece of the festival. As per tradition, the festival will begin with a watermelon-cutting ceremony, revealing the tasty and sweet flesh of this year’s harvest. There will be a variety of melon-centric activities to choose from, including a watermelon eating contest and a seed-spitting contest.
Those with a more artistic inclination can enter the carving contest. Entries must be completed and brought to the Beauregard Parish Fair Exhibition Hall at 506 West Dr. in DeRidder by 10 a.m. on June 28. A deer with antlers carved into the green fruit captured last year’s prize, Darbonne said. This year, the winner will receive four one-day passes to Blue Bayou waterpark, a $100 gas card and a free hotel stay.
Little ones can compete in the coloring contest put on by Brookshire Brothers grocery store. The entries will be put on display and announced on June 28 during the festival. Those who wish to participate can pick up contest materials at Brookshire Brothers in DeRidder.
Even the watermelons will be competing during the festival as judges search for the biggest behemoth melon in Beauregard Parish.
The festival will also host a carnival where thrill-seekers can ride the variety of amusement rides available. Bracelets for the amusement park are $15 all day on June 26 and on June 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. They are $18 all day on June 27 and from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. on June 28.
Admission to the festival is free for kids ages 3 and under. Kids ages 4 to 12 are $3 and 12 and up is $5.