Luling Texas Watermelon Thump
Written by Randy Watson
Nothing says that summer has arrived like juicy, ripe, cool watermelons . . . and nothing celebrates the venerable watermelon quite like the Luling Watermelon Thump, held annually in Luling, TX for the last 54 years. The carnival is a four-day affair, featuring a midway, arts and crafts market, car show, exhibitions, rides and entertainment for the kids, seed spitting contests, watermelon eating contests, and plenty of great musical acts.
The Thump began in 1954 as a way to draw attention to the watermelon growers in the region, and has grown in size as well as in its events. Its popularity and fame has grown also. For years, many of the winning watermelons have been sent to famous people such as Ronald Regan, Art Linklater, and Johnny Carson, and many of the winners of the seed spitting contest have appeared on TV talk shows, increasing the renown of the Thump. The record in the seed-spitting contest was set in 1989 by Reed Wheelis at an incredible 68 feet, 9 1/8 inches. This year the winner will receive a prize of $500, and another $500 if a new record is set.
The festivities get underway on Thursday, June 21, and goes until the 24th. Day one gets started at 5:30 PM, with the carnival, midway, exhibitor\'s market, arts and crafts, kid\'s rides, and food and beverage booths, all which go until midnight. At 7:00 is the coronation of the Thump Queen, who will watch over Saturday\'s parade. Starting at 8:30 is the night\'s free musical entertainment, Lembo Allen, which also lasts until midnight.
Day 2 starts early, with the judging and awarding of the melon champion for the year at 10:00 AM. At 5:00, the children\'s seed-spitting, and children's team seed-spitting will be judged. The musical acts for the night see Billy Bacon & the Forbidden Pigs from 7:30-9:00, and Jim Byrom from 9:30-11:30 on the free stage. On the main stage, starting at 8:30, Aaron Watson will be opening for the Randy Rodgers Band. Tickets are on sale for $20.
Saturday\'s events start off with the Thump Day 5K Fun Run at 8:00 AM, followed by the parade at 10. The parade is one of the grandest traditions, featuring floats, bands, and other festivities. Visitors are welcome to bring their lawn chairs and relax in style as the parade passes by. At 1 PM is the watermelon eating contests followed by the auction of the champion melon. 4:30 brings the famous World Championship Seed Spitting Contest for the adults. Also, during the day, many musical acts will be performing free of charge at the Spitway Stage. Starting off at 2 PM is the Shiner Hobo Band, followed by Ponty Bone at 8 PM and Kyle Park at 10. Headlining the event is Kevin Fowler, with the Mike McClure Band opening at 7 PM. Tickets for this show are $20, and children 11 and under get in for free.
Sunday brings an end to the festivities, but before it does, motors will get revved up at the Thump Car Show which starts at noon, with awards given out at 5. There is also a full day of music planned with Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88s and TZR playing throughout the day.