W - New queen and her court copy


The highlight of the 68th Annual Newberry Watermelon Festival was crowning of Kyndal VanAernam, center, as the 2013 Newberry Watermelon Queen.

NEWBERRY – Free melon slices, food and craft vendors and bounce houses were all to be found at the 68th Annual Newberry Watermelon Festival. The field at Destiny Church was full of cars and the people attending had plenty to keep them busy. The day began with a parade through downtown with pageant queens and contestants leading the way. Old tractors, trucks, floats and cars were all seen as the parade made its way down the street ending at Triangle Park.

K-Country’s Lewis Stokes and Mark Copeland entertained the crowd with music and their own brand of humor. Hog calling by Sierra Crosswhite and Jordan Marlowe started the entertainment and they ended up calling the Back Yard BBQ pig on the stage. From there it was seed spitting, melon rolling and music. The 68th Newberry Watermelon Queen, Kyndal VanAernam, was crowned, and for the third year Mayor Conrad led off the auction. Watermelon themed items sold quickly as the bidders tried to get their favorite items.

A quick ride around the field is all it took for an opportunity to taste candied jalapenos and a funnel cake, purchase a watermelon necklace and earrings and see youngsters bungee jumping high in the sky, sliding on the inflatables and having a great time.

A huge tent was set up with tables and chairs for a resting and eating area out of the heat of the sun, and one tent was in front of the entertainment and stage area. The festival committee was responsible for the layout, which was workable for everyone. Scott and Kateara Stoner and Paul Paisley and Tim Marden all worked to serve melon slices to everyone who wanted a taste of a genuine Florida melon. Local resident Kathi Thomas said there were so many people involved in helping that she would be afraid to start naming names, but the sponsors and the City were all a big help in coordinating the community event.

A comical moment happened during the seed spitting contest. It became evident fairly early that a seed spitting contest and seedless melons are not a winning combination. This was discovered as the contest began and seeded melons were located so the seed spitting did go on.

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