Hampton County
                Watermelon Festival

          June 20th - 28th, 2015
                             2015 Festival Theme:
 Outdoor Life In Hampton County


 Check out current Festival news below!

             2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee

              Miss Hampton County                                                                                     Miss Teen Hampton County 
              Watermelon Festival                                                                                             Watermelon Festival
  Maryanna Hatcher                                               Kenzie Rachel Hiers

                                                                                                                 Photo Courtesy of Jen DeLoach & Southern Girl Studios
    2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival "Melon Belles"
Top of stairs down: Melon Belle coordinators Chinon Condor & Kristen Rentz
Front Row: Jamie Padgett, Rachel Cope, Kenzie Hiers, Cassie Kemmerlin, Marllie DeLoach,Brittany Kinard, Windee Hill, Lainey Johnson, Christy Rooker, Briana Buckner
Back Row: Faith Doctor, Maddy Terry, Faith Rea, Emily Wilson, Michaela Condor, Leanora Bishop, Sarah Gohagan, Marybeth Hiers, Leanna Tebeau
Not Pictured: Hunter Cook, Julianna Corbin, Madelyn Corbin, Jenny Schaffer

2014 Hampton County Watermelon Festival "Melon Beaus"
Left to right: Matthew Altman, Cameron Poston, Brett Terry, Grayson Cook, Parker Rentz, Brenden Strother, Eric Mulligan




 2015 Watermelon Festival NEWS! 
                   Festival Committee Makes 
                Street Dance Changes

Posted 3.17.15                                                                                                                                             Story by Chris Haulsee   
 Hampton- The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee held their monthly meeting last Thursday night to discuss this year’s Festival while finalizing some of the music plans in store for the 73rd celebration.
     Due to lack of turnout on the “Country Music” end of Lee Avenue, the Festival Committee has decided to end the decades-long tradition of hosting a Country-Western live band on that end of the street. The 2015 Street Dance will feature the usual “Beach Music-Top 40” band on the “Courthouse” end of the street and will move the DJ from its current location, off of Lee Avenue to the old location of the country band. 
     “Last year the turnout was not very large for the country band,” said Festival Chairman Jimmie Polk. “At the same time, we have seen a huge increase in attendance for the DJ. The kids love it and we haven’t had any real problems since the idea of having a DJ for the younger crowd came to be two years ago.” Festival Webmaster Chris Haulsee added, “The Committee is looking for ways to trim costs as bands become more and more expensive. Sometimes you have to go where the crowd is and what you are getting your best response from. The DJ at the Street Dance has started to draw a much larger crowd than the country band and the country band costs 3-4 times as much as the DJ, plus our DJ is a local guy. We know that some folks will miss the country band but we still have a beach/top-40 band that will pick up many of those country fans.”
The Committee wants to remind everyone that they can still come out and dance to a wonderful band and DJ. Please remember that the costs of live bands continue to skyrocket while the Watermelon Festival still provides a Street Dance that is free of charge to anyone attending while still providing quality entertainment.
     Speaking of the Street Dance, William Koger has announced that he will try to book the East Coast Party Band for 2015. ECPB has performed at the Festival in the past and has always been well received. Koger hopes to book them within the next few weeks.
    Committee member Robert Brown announced this past week that the band for this year’s Bluegrass Concert, held at Open Arms Fellowship Church each year, will feature some homegrown talent with the band “Graham’s Turnout.” GT has performed at the gazebo on Saturdays during the Festival as well as headlining the Festival’s Opening Ceremonies and Family Fun Day at Lake Warren State Park.
In other Festival news, there is still not much headway in bringing back the Carnival that took last year off due to a lack of location that was suitable. All other committees reported that their events were on track and were running smoothly. 
     Festival Chairman Polk announced that the Committee was in need of new blood and that several positions on the Committee would need to be replaced next year, his being one of them. Other key positions that will need to be filled by the end of this year include: Arts & Crafts Chairman, currently held by Okey Byrd; Mud Runs Chairman, currently held by Jimmie Polk; Taste of Hampton County Chairman, currently held by Ann Long; and Festival Chairman, currently held by Jimmie Polk. Not only do these positions need to be filled, there are also several other committees that need some volunteer help. Festival meetings are held the first Thursday in the month.
     In other Festival news, advertising space for this year’s Festival Souvenir Book   is available. If you would like to place your regular ad or if you are a new business that would like to support the Festival, please contact Lettie Ginn at 803-625-4408. If any businesses, church or civic groups would like to rent a float for this year’s Festival, please contact Terrell Cleland at 942-3521.
     If anyone would like to sell Arts & Crafts this year and you need space, Arts & Crafts applications are now online at hcmelonfest.org. Go to the website and click on the “applications” tab, print the application, fill it out and mail it in. Time is running out on applying!
     The Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee will have its next meeting on Thursday, April, 2nd at 7:00pm. Meetings are held at the Hampton United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall located just behind the church on Mulberry Street in Hampton. Everyone is welcome to attend!

     Graham's Turnout to perform
               at Bluegrass Concert

Posted 3.12.15                                                                                                                   Story by Chris Haulsee        
      This year the Hampton County Watermelon Festival has decided to go with a local flavor for their annual Bluegrass Concert. In the past the free concert has featured bands from all over South Carolina and the Southeast while always having a big crowd.
    The band of choice for the 2015 Festival is a local Bluegrass group Graham’s Turnout. Graham’s Turnout has been around for a few years and have previously appeared at the Watermelon Festival’s “Family Fun Day” held each year at Lake Warren State Park as part of the Festival’s “Opening Ceremonies.”
     The members of the band include: Mike Meyer- mandolin, harmonica & vocals; Lee Hutto-rhythm guitar, mandolin & vocals; Mac Millen-bass guitar, guitar, percussion & vocals; Steve Bennett-vocals, banjo, dobro & guitar. 
     This year’s concert will again be held at Open Arms Fellowship Church, located on Highway 601 North as you head out of Hampton. The concert is free to the public.

Festival Committee sets 2015 theme;
            names Parade Grand Marshal

Posted 2.26.15                                                                                                                Story by Michael DeWitt, Jr.
    Hampton County, with its plentiful pineland acreage, teeming wetlands, 440-acre Lake Warren State Park and a trio of vast, state-managed Wildlife Management Areas, has selected the theme for its 2015 Watermelon Festival: "The Outdoor Life in Hampton County." The 73rd edition of this fine South Carolina festival tradition is set for June 20-28, 2015, and is beckoning to all lovers of wild, open-air spaces and Southern small town charm.
     Break the stifling monotony of those long June days by trekking to quaint Hampton County, nestled on the back porch of the South Carolina Lowcountry between the rivers Salkehatchie and Savannah, where you can enjoy an adorable "kiddie" parade, the Taste of Hampton County smorgasbord, a fishing contest, a pet show, the Battle of the Towns, a mud run, a free street dance and what just may be the longest parade in the Palmetto State - covering 2.4 miles and two towns! And the Grand Marshal of this year's parade - which is scheduled to be televised on Savannah's WTOC Channel 11 - is well known in outdoor circles: Hampton County native Sidney Jones, a retired S.C. Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officer who during his career was beloved by the law abiding, feared by the lawless and respected by all.
     From the hardcore hunter and freshwater enthusiast to the gentle birdwatcher and hiker, there is something for every nature lover to sample here in this serene corner of the coastal region. While you're in town for the festival you can enjoy hiking, fishing or nature watching at local blackwater rivers, scenic Lake Warren, and top-notch professionally guided hunting plantations; or venture deeper into the wild to hunt and fish public lands at Webb, Palachucola and Hamilton Ridge WMAs in Garnett.
     Come and stay all week. We've got plenty of room, lots of fresh air and a few thousand pounds of ice-cold watermelon! Founded in 1939 and organized entirely by volunteers since, the Watermelon Festival is online at
- Courtesy of Michael DeWitt, Jr., Hampton County Watermelon Festival Committee volunteer and South Carolina Wildlife contributor







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