WINSTON — The 49th annual Winston-Dillard Melon Festival will be held Friday through Sunday at Winston’s Riverbend Park, 243 SE Thompson Ave., Winston.
Visitors have the opportunity to get messy at this year’s “Melon Mania” event, which includes a variety of entertainment for people of all ages to enjoy.
“This is a family-fun, free event with lots of fun and laughter,” said Clay Caldwell, the president of the Winston-Dillard Area Festival Association that sponsors the event.
Kicking off the festival is a parade on Saturday, starting from 11 a.m. at Abby’s parking lot and continuing until noon at Riverbend Park. Anyone can register at 9:00 a.m. near the Douglas County Farmers Co-Op in Winston.
Last year, approximately 4,000 people showed up to the event. However, with more activities and prizes each year, organizers expect that number will grow.
“I hope more people show up this year because next year is our 50th and we want to build this year into next year,” Caldwell said.
Multiple contests will be held this weekend, including a frozen T-shirt contest, a melon-eating contest and a mens’ knee contest where men stand behind cut-out doors and expose their knees. The public will judge which knees are sexiest, hairiest, ugliest or boniest.
A variety of live musical entertainment will be available, including Mark Baratta, Umpqua Valley Bluegrass, Hecktic Week, Paradox, Sequoia, Dylan James, We’re Not Elvis and more.
Approximately 40 crafts and food booths will be hosted at the event, including a beef barbecue dinner on Saturday and a chicken barbecue dinner on Sunday at noon.
A raffle will be held at 3:30 p.m., Sunday, with a grand prize of a backyard barbecue patio package worth more than $1,000. Other prizes include gift cards, fishing supplies and a nights stay at Seven Feathers Casino, to name a few. Raffle tickets can be purchased from the information booth all weekend for $1 per ticket or six tickets for $5.
Event organizers ask that visitors bring nonperishable food items to donate at the entrance gate to support the Dillard-Winston food pantry.
“We at the festival association dedicate ourselves to give the community something to do annually,” Caldwell said.
He added, “I hope community members take away laughter and enjoyment from the festival.”
The Melon Festival is free and will be held from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call 541-530-7862. All festival proceeds fund youth groups and local organizations.