YMCA ready for its first Jubilee

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 9, 2005

The Watermelon Jubilee is only days away, and YMCA Director Amanda Phillips is &uot;very excited&uot; as the Y gears up for its first sponsorship of the event, slated for this weekend, August 13 and 14.

Phillips, speaking to the Greenville Lions Club on Monday, said the Y had exceeded their goal for vendors this year.

&uot;We set a goal of 50, which we felt was reasonable. After all, the event was not held last year…as of this morning, we now have about 75 vendors signed up,&uot; Phillips said.

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(In 2003, the last year the now-defunct Greenville Academy sponsored the event, there were 70 vendors.)

The Y director pointed out Watermelon Hill, located directly behind the Y building, had suffered a &uot;major blow&uot; from Hurricane Ivan last fall.

&uot;We lost about 65 trees total, and there was at least one tree on top of every building we had up there. However, with a lot of help from our Y people, GA people, the city and from our county inmates, everything got cleaned up – and we are ready to go,&uot; Phillips said.

A large children’s activity area will be one of the focal points of the event, with a rock climbing wall, &uot;bouncy castle,&uot; inflatable slide and other attractions. &uot;We will also offer face painting, clowns and balloons for the kids,&uot; Phillips said.

In addition, there will plenty of crafts, including wood working, leather goods, stained glass, jewelry, purses and much more.

Good eats will again be a part of Jubilee, Phillips promised.

&uot;We will also offer a ‘sweet tooth booth’ and our country store, both sponsored by the YMCA. The GHS Band Boosters will host a barbecue booth, and we will have a lady there with homemade teacakes. She’ll also be frying apple and peach tarts on the spot,&uot; the Y director said.

More exotic food items, such as coconut shrimp on a stick, will also be available for festival attendees.

Entertainment slated for Jubilee will include the ever-popular Southern Comfort, a bluegrass gospel band; Randy Tenney, Holley Matthews and other local talents.

If you love contests dealing with all things watermelon, Watermelon Jubilee is the place for you, Phillips said.

&uot;We have a watermelon eating contest, sponsored by Super Foods; a watermelon coloring contest, sponsored by the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, the biggest watermelon contest, and the Greenville Lions seed-spitting contest,&uot; she said.

There will be cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 for those 14 and up who can spit their seeds the greatest distance. A separate $25 can be won by the child who proves the mightiest &uot;spitter.&uot; The entry fee is 25 cents for three seeds.

As for all the ice-cold, juicy watermelon you can eat – it’s free.

&uot;We just had 400 local melons brought in by truck today, and we’ve got them all inside to keep them fresh and cool for this weekend,&uot; Phillips said.

She reminded everyone the fun family-oriented event would benefit many in the community.

&uot;The monies we raise for the YMCA will help provide scholarships for kids who need the help. We have triple the number of students we had in our old facility,&uot; Phillips said, adding,

&uot;I’ve never done anything this big, but I think it will turn out great. God’s been good to us at the Y so far, and I think this will be the same.&uot;

Jubilee runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults and $1 for students.

For more information, contact Amanda Phillips at 382-0550.