The Tradition Continues!

Verdugo Dons dish out cold watermelon to the revelers!

by David DeMullé

It was “Ready-Set-Go” last week as people gave up on being hot and went to the 55th annual Watermelon Festival. This year it was held the weekend of July 29, 30 in Lake View Terrace at the Hansen Dam Soccer Complex in the San Fernando Valley.

It was an all-day adventure for adults and children that included all day free watermelon, delicious foods, carnival rides and attractions, games, contests, live entertainment, a Kids Zone, and the newest attraction – watermelon skiing!

It ran from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., a perfect time that wasn’t too hot and didn’t get too cold. This festival was the next in a 55-year tradition that pays tribute to the early days when watermelons were the prized crop of the eastern San Fernando Valley foothills. This “melon mania” expands the limits of the seedy supersized fruit, and for the first time ever, patrons could step into carved-out watermelon halves and “melon ski” across a greased canvas to showcase their skills as the crowd cheered them on.

In another area, puckering up for the seed-spitting contest at the “Spitway,” or going for the gold in the watermelon relay were also among the options. Free watermelon was in plentiful supply for everyone there. For the adults the activities also included a marketplace with an array of eclectic arts & crafts exhibitors and vendor booths, carving displays and cooking demonstrations, live entertainment and strolling performers, watermelon-wear clothing, and more. In addition to the food court, carnival rides and midway games, kids enjoyed pony rides, a petting zoo, a children’s theater, and watching sport bicyclists fly over the area.

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