Events Descriptions for the 2017 Festival
Festival Parade Saturday, June 24th, 10:00am Hwy 278 Hampton to Varnville
The Watermelon Festival Parade holds two distinctions....one is that the parade is known as the longest in the state of South Carolina with a length of 3.2 miles, from the Town of Varnville, where it begins, to the Town of Hampton, where it ends. The other distinction (and knock on wood) is that since it's inception in 1939, the Watermelon Festival has never been rained out. That's pretty amazing as this is will be the Festival's 74th year. Queens, floats, state and local dignitaries are just a few of the things you will see along with bands, local businesses with homemade floats and decorated vehicles and the horses. A few things to remember about the parade is it is usually hot so make sure you try to find some shade (unless you're looking to get a tan) and bring plenty of water to drink. Don't forget to make sure those kiddies are cared for, too. The parade starts at 10:00am in Varnville.
Street Dance Friday June 23rd, 9:00pm -Midnight Lee Ave., Downtown Hampton
The Festival Street Dance is the 2nd largest event of the Festival each year (the Parade being the largest in attendance). Lee Ave., in Downtown Hampton, is shut down on the Friday before the parade and the night is filled with music. It's an opportunity to see old friends and make new ones. Many a girl or boy met their future husband or wife on that special night. On the "Courthouse end" of the street you'll find "top 40", Adult Contemporary, Beach Music Jazz and Rock & Roll........on the other end you can be entertained by a DJ that will be spinning your favorites from the 70's all the way up to what you hear today. As always, the Street Dance will feature a two great bands. One of the best things about the Street Dance is that it's FREE and there's plenty of food just across the street near the Courthouse Square if you get hungry. Pick up some great crafts and souvenirs while you're there.
Family Fun Day & Opening Ceremonies -
Saturday, June 17th, 10:00am - 2:00pm Lake Warren State Park
A "Fun in the Sun" midday Saturday outing for the whole family located at Lake Warren State Park just outside of Hampton off of Hwys. 363 and 601. Just follow the signs!
The week's activities open with yearly theme information and special introductions provided by our Committee chairpersons and invited guests. There’s a free hotdog lunch and a variety of cool treats from local sponsors. Our Boy Scouts will be serving watermelon, watermelon and more watermelon. Official Festival merchandise is sold here and our Themed Museum exhibit is held in the Community building. Our activities include a petting zoo, canoe and kayak rides, face painting and games, bouncy houses/waterslides and musical entertainment provided by a DJ as well as live music. Dancing is always encouraged! Please dress accordingly; bring chairs, towels and plenty of sunscreen. Our host and park superintendent, Noah Letter, will be available to answer all questions about current programs offered at the park. A shuttle service is provided to and from the parking area to the Community building and our emergency service partners will be on site to keep the effects of the sun and heat at bay. Please join in the fun and help us in celebrating the 74th Annual Hampton County Watermelon Festival. Come out to see what new surprises we may have this year! Friends, family, guests, visitors and neighbors welcome! No pets please! There is no charge for this event. Please bring money for T shirts and other festival souvenirs.
Taste of Hampton County Tuesday, June 20th 7:00pm HES Cafeteria
Parents save yourselves a night of cookin' and head over to the "Taste of Hampton County." Cooks from all over the county share their homemade recipes with anyone and everyone that attends. One of the most beloved events at each year's Festival, the "Taste" is held at the Hampton Elementary School cafeteria and is a cost-friendly $5 for ages 7 and up and free for kids 6 and under. Salads, entrees, breads, veggies, deserts are all on the menu and you get a taste of anything you like, at least until it runs out. If you want to add your favorite dish you can do that by calling Ann Long at the Hampton Co. Recreation Department in Varnville or emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't miss a great night of fantastic food and fellowship.
FishingContest Wednesday, June 21st, All Day, Lake Warren State Park
The Festival Fishing Contest is one of the Watermelon Festival's oldest events with all-day fishing out at Lake Warren State Park for ages young and old. There are lots of free giveaways and trophies for several species of fish. If you have a boat, bring it. If you don't have a boat, then take advantage of the dam, spillway, gazebo or pier. Don't forget your bait and you may want to bring some sunscreen and bug repellant along with something to drink, but remember no alcohol! Registration for the contest is inside the Lake Warren State Park gate at Picnic Shelter #1 and starts at sunrise. Bring the whole family and catch a mess of fish. Who knows maybe you'll win a prize while you're there!
Battle of the Towns Thursday, June 22nd, 7:30pm, WHHS Varnville
The Battle of the Towns has been around for over 30 years with teams from several of the towns and communities of Hampton County competing for bragging rights as well as the Hampton County shaped trophy that the winning team keeps for a year. Each team participates in what may be some of the wackiest races and competitions that you will ever see. The Wade Hampton AthleticBooster Club sponsors the event and always manages to come up with the craziest, most off-the-wall ideas imaginable. The event is family-friendly and even includes a "baby crawl" competition to determine who the fastest youngin' on all fours is. Concessions are always available at this event. Bring the whole family out for a night of excitement and silliness.
Youth Parade Monday, June 19th, 7:00pm Downtown Varnville
Yes, the kids in Hampton County have their own parade, too! Each year the Festival Youth Parade draws a huge crowd to the town of Varnville and features the amazing ingenuity that these kids are known for when it comes to decorating for this event. Baby carriages, strollers, wagons and golf carts are all decked out in the year's Festival theme with the parade beginning at the Varnville Baptist Church and ending at the Varnville Gazebo. Following the parade, trophies are awarded for each classification and then it's free watermelon slice time!
Children's Day in the Park Wednesday, June 21st, 10:00am, Hampton Gazebo
"Children's Day in the Park" is two hours of fun-filled entertainment specifically designed for the younger youngsters. There's everything from face painting, sidewalk chalk, contests, games of chance and even a water slide and bounce house. While you and the kids are there you can enjoy entertainment performed by local talents in the field of dance and music. It's lots of fun and a great opportunity for the kids to get out and enjoy being part of the Watermelon Festival. Make sure your babies wear sunscreen and get plenty of fluids because it's probably going to be hot.