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Watermelon heads get ready!

A Camellia City tradition continues this summer with the return of the Watermelon Jubilee on August 9 and 10.

For the 22nd consecutive year, Jubilee is coming to the shady spot known as Watermelon Hill, once again bringing down-home music, delicious foods and delightful arts and crafts for all ages to enjoy.

While those traditions continue, there are several changes in store for the event this year.

Cindy Cartwright has stepped up to the plate as chairman of the association following the retirement of long-time leader Hubert Little, who has stated he felt the event could use &uot;some new blood and new ideas.&uot;

And following a couple of years trying out a Friday/Saturday event schedule, Jubilee is returning this year to its traditional Saturday/Sunday format. Other changes include the Greenville High School Band Boosters coming on board to man the event’s ever-popular barbecue concession.

&uot;We are looking forward to a really good event this year,&uot; said Cartwright.

&uot;We have more than 70 vendors already lined up and are expecting more to confirm in the next few days.

We have fun activities for the kids, including face-painting and balloons, and of course, our annual Seed-Spitting Championship,&uot; she explained.

Of course, it wouldn’t be the Watermelon Jubilee without plenty of ripe, juicy watermelons and free slices will once again be on hand this year for Jubilee visitors.

Barbecue, ice cream, funnel cakes and other delicious treats will also be available to hungry attendees.

Music is always a big part of the event. Cartwright said a local favorite, bluegrass gospel band Southern Comfort, is slated to attend, along with the group New Vision and other performers.

Of course, the work of local and regional artists and artisans will once again be on abundant display atop Watermelon Hill.

Cartwright is especially excited this year about an exhibit of stained glass creations by Greenville’s Darryl Gates. &uot;We are so happy to show off our local talent and his work is really beautiful…in fact, we have a lot of really talented people in this area,&uot; she said.

Hours of operation for Watermelon Jubilee 2003 are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets for Jubilee are $3 for adults and just $1 for children.

Tram rides to and from the parking areas will once again be available, Cartwright said.

This weekend ‘Watermelon Fever’ will kick off with the annual Miss Watermelon Jubilee pageant on Saturday night at Greenville’s Ritz Theatre.

On August 7, Cartwright will appear with David Hagood on WSFA-TV’s ‘Today in Alabama’ morning show to spotlight the festival for area residents.

Cartwright and her fellow volunteers hope to see Watermelon Jubilee continue to flourish as a true community-wide event for the city.

&uot;We want to see this festival continue to be a part of this community. It has brought a lot of positive attention to our city and it has benefited the community as a whole.

Many people across the state know Greenville as the home of the Watermelon Jubilee.

We’d love to see more schools, churches and other groups get involved,&uot; Cartwright said.

For more information, contact Cartwright by phone at 382-6819 or via e-mail at Watermelonjubilee@hotmail.com.