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Watermelon Jubilee enjoys sun-filled return

After the threat of yet more rain, sunshine prevailed last weekend to welcome the YMCA’s first sponsorship of the Watermelon Jubilee.

After a one-year hiatus, the Y, which now occupies the former campus of Greenville Academy, longtime sponsor of the event, brought back the summer festival to Watermelon Hill on Saturday and Sunday.

Approximately 75 vendors offered attendees a variety of goods, including clothing, jewelry, wrought iron items, handcrafted children’s toys, wheel-thrown pottery and cast ceramics, stained glass, paintings, soy candles, purses and more, along with live entertainment and good eats.

Charlie Russell of Montgomery took home the lovely watermelon quilt raffled off at Jubilee and plenty of Butler County watermelon was on hand, well chilled, freshly sliced and just waiting to be savored.

&uot;There is some great, tasty watermelon this year,&uot; Jeddo Bell, city councilman and Jubilee volunteer, said with approval as he helped hand out free slices on Saturday.

Clark Carie of Montgomery proved he could pack the melon away as the champion of the watermelon eating contest.

A contest for the biggest watermelon was also held, with George Hunter III of Lowndes County and his eighty and one-half pound watermelon taking the honors.

In addition to its signature fruit, there was an abundance of other tasty treats to enjoy at Jubilee, including barbecue, fried peach and apple pies and sweet tea, funnel cakes, shrimp on a stick and much more.

And if you worked up an appetite for seed spitting along the way, the Greenville Lions Seeding Spitting Contest was just the ticket.

For a mere quarter, a contestant earned three seeds, the promise of cash prizes and title as biggest spitter in town.

&uot;We enjoyed being back up here again to sponsor the contest; it’s been great exposure for our club,&uot; said Lion President Hubert Little on Saturday as he helped measure the distance of the seeds.

Twelve-year-old Chance Williams tried his luck at seed spitting on Saturday, but his efforts just couldn’t surpass those of three other youth.

Class B winners (ages 12 and under) proved to be Nikki Cartwright, 1st place winner of $25 with a distance of 28 feet and one-half inches; Jackson Mims, who took 2nd place and $15 with a distance of 23 feet, eight inches and Josh Hubbard, in 3rd place, a $10 winner with 20 feet, 10 inches.

In the Class A Division, ages 13 and up, the 1st place winner of $100 was Jason Layfield, with an amazing distance of 35 feet, five inches. William Lowe took 2nd place and $50 with a distance of thirty-two feet, two inches, while Michael Cook came in 3rd place with 30 feet, three inches, taking home a $25 prize.

The Butler County Humane Society also considered several four-footed friends winners by adopting out four homeless animals, two hound dogs and two Chow mix puppies, over the weekend.

&uot;We’ve had those two hounds since they were six weeks old and now they are six months – so we are very glad to find homes for them. And the little puppies just came into the shelter yesterday. They got their shots, we came in this morning and bathed them…aren’t they adorable!&uot; Brenda Whitney of the BCHS said on Saturday afternoon as she cuddled a roly-poly black pup.

Tara Gibson, a Jubilee volunteer, was the first new &uot;parent&uot; of the day, and stopped by on Saturday afternoon to visit with her new puppy.

&uot;Pretty cute, huh,&uot; Gibson said with a smile as she gave her newest family member a hug.

Amanda Phillips, YMCA director, lauded those who came out over the weekend and in the weeks before to help prepare for Jubilee. "I can't say enough about how much I appreciate all the help we received from so many supporters throughout the city. We absolutely couldn't have done it without them," Phillips said.