Seed-spittin’ fun at Watermelon Day

Families turn out for annual Stanhope summer celebration

The first place entry in the antique division of the Watermelon Day parade Saturday was this 1936 tractor, courtesy of the Lass family.
The Nickel Scramble in the Stanhope Park, sponsored by the E-J-S police department. drew lots of interest from kids during Watermelon Day.

STANHOPE — Mother Nature smiled on Stanhope Saturday, when pleasant weather prevailed as the community hosted the 62nd annual Watermelon Day. After a week of sweltering high temperatures coupled with high humidity, a cold front came through Saturday morning just in time to save the day for the throngs of young and old alike who traveled to Stanhope for what has become a custom for many.

Over the years, the day has become part family reunion, part nostalgia, part carnival, and part tradition–all highlighted by as much free ice-cold watermelon one cares to eat. Sponsored by the Stanhope Lions club, volunteers from the community pitch in to take their turn staffing the popular food stand, cutting some of the four tons of watermelon that’s served that day, baking a pie for the food stand, calling Bingo, or running one of the kids’ games or rides in the park.

Nine teams from around Hamilton County competed in this year’s Watermelon Day slow-pitch softball tournament that was played on the park ball diamond on Thursday and Friday evenings, and all day and evening on Saturday. The winning team was sponsored by Russ’ Barbershop of Webster City, who were awarded the trophy supplied by Stanhope State University.

Watermelon Day kicked off on Saturday with the annual parade. Judges were on hand to rank the winners in each category. Antique: 1st, Lass Family; 2nd, Carlson Farms; 3rd, Linda Erickson. Business: 1st, McMurray Hatchery; 2nd, Webster City Financial; 3rd, Sogard Excavating. Children: 1st, Cordyn Dilley. Club: 1st, Stanhope Block Party; 2nd, Stanhope State Universty; 3rd, Kids Cancer Squad. Horse: 1st, Dayton Saddle Club.