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North Carolina State Southeastern Watermelon Festival

Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival

Adopted in 1993.

North Carolina already has three official state festivals - the Hertford County Watermelon Festival, the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival and Folkmoot USA in Waynesville as the official international festival. Hertford County's festival is the state's official northeastern watermelon festival while the Fair Bluff event is the state's official southeastern watermelon festival.

In 1993, the General Assembly also designated the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival as the official Southeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival (Session Laws, 1993, c. 212).

North Carolina Southeastern Watermelon Festival:
Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival

Retold and recollected by:

Judy Enzor, Executive Director & Emily Worley, Secretary
Fair Bluff Watermelon Growers Association, Inc. © 1998

The North Carolina Watermelon Festival has a deep and rich history. It began in the summer of 1986 around the last weekend in July. It all started with two good friends, Monroe Enzor, Sr. and A.J. Worley. Both men were semi-retired farmers and wanted a fun hobby to do. Mr. Monroe purchased some watermelon seeds from a stand near Ocean Isle Beach and decided to plant them to seeif he could grow some watermelons. He was very successful in this and one of his watermelons got to be around 117 pounds. He shared this with his friend A.J. and soon A.J. found some seeds out of an Arkansas magazine. He sent straight off for them and in the ground they went. His watermelon got to be a little bigger than Monroe's and weighed approximately 120 pounds.

A.J. and Monroe began comparing watermelons as early as 1979, carrying their prize melons into town on the backs of their pick up trucks to weigh and to see who could brag the most. In years that followed the crowds coming into the little town of Fair Bluff began to increase with the excitement of the watermelon contest between these two friends. There was a spark in the air as they watched the twinkle in the eye of the friend that grew the largest watermelons. Seeing the crowds that the event drew, these two friends started an organization known as the Fair Bluff Watermelon Growers Association, Inc. and from this a festival began. Miss America came to town to kick off the festival and crown the first Watermelon Queen. Over the years, with help from family and friends, the watermelon contest between the two friends became known as the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival, and later known as the Southeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival.

It is said that the contest between these two friends became so popular that they had to hide their watermelon patches and guard them to keep the melons from being stolen. If their secret in growing large melons was in the knotching stick they often chuckling referred to no one actually ever knew, because these two friends would and did switch watermelons on occasion, depending on which one they wanted to walk away with the glory. In 1991 Fair Bluff lost both of these outstanding men within a week. The festivals have not been the same without their spirits and happy-go-lucky personalities to brighten the lives of their family and friends, but they still live on through the happy memories that are recorded in our minds.

At the festival you can always hear someone say, "Do you remember when A.J. and Monroe did this...?" A festival based on friendship and honesy has increased to include the surrounding areas and new events and new ideas are added each year, stemming from the melon patches of two great friends, who will always be remembered as the heart of the N.C. Watermelon Festival in Fair Bluff.

North Carolina House Bill 318 - 1993

GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF NORTH CAROLINA
1993 SESSION CHAPTER 212 HOUSE BILL 318

AN ACT TO ADOPT THE HERTFORD COUNTY WATERMELON FESTIVAL AND THE FAIR BLUFF WATERMELON FESTIVAL AS THE OFFICIAL NORTH CAROLINA WATERMELON FESTIVALS.

Whereas, watermelon farming has been a successful vocation of many
farmers in eastern North Carolina, especially the Counties of Columbus and Hertford, for generations; and

Whereas, the watermelon industry has been and continues to be an important part of the State's economy; and

Whereas, there are as many as 700 to 1,000 acres of watermelons grown in
northeastern North Carolina each year and as many as 1,500 acres of watermelons grown in southeastern North Carolina each year; and
Whereas, the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival in Columbus County held since 1980, and the Hertford County Watermelon Festival held since 1986, are two very popular watermelon festivals held annually in North Carolina; and

Whereas, the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival is held in mid-July for four to
five days and the Hertford County Watermelon Festival is held in early August for four days; and

Whereas, both festivals have attracted at least 12,000 visitors; and

Whereas, the festivals provide participants of all ages with a wide variety of
entertainment including parades, amusement rides, historic tours, dances, and contests; and

Whereas, the festivals allow local crafters and vendors the chance to promote their goods to a large number of people; and

Whereas, adopting the Hertford County Watermelon Festival and the Fair
Bluff Watermelon Festival as the official North Carolina Watermelon Festivals will help to promote agriculture, tourism, and economic growth, and the exchange of cultural ideas;

Now, therefore, The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
Section 1. Chapter 145 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new
section to read:

"§ 145-16. State Watermelon Festivals.

(a) The Hertford County Watermelon Festival is adopted as the official
Northeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival. The Hertford County Watermelon Festival shall be observed annually during the last four days of the first week in August.

(b) The Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival in Columbus County is adopted as the official Southeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival. The Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival shall be observed annually during mid-July.

(c) Nothing in this act shall be construed to obligate the General Assembly to appropriate funds to implement the provisions of this act.

(d) Nothing in this act shall be construed to obligate Hertford County or
Columbus County to expend funds for the purposes of this act."

Sec. 2. The title of Chapter 145 reads as rewritten:
"State Flower, Bird, Tree, Shell, Mammal, Fish, Insect, Stone, Reptile and Rock, Beverage, Historical Boat, Language, Dog, Military Academy, and Tartan. Tartan, and Watermelon Festival."

Sec. 3. This act is effective upon ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 24th day of
June, 1993.
───────────────────
Dennis A. Wicker
President of the Senate

Daniel Blue, Jr.
Speaker of the House of Representatives

North Carolina Law

The law designating the Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival in Columbus County  as the official North Carolina state southeastern water melon festival is found in the North Carolina General Statutes, Chapter 145 Section 145-16(b).

Chapter 145.
State Symbols and Other Official Adoptions.
§ 145-16. State Watermelon Festivals.

(a) The Hertford County Watermelon Festival is adopted as the official Northeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival. The Hertford County Watermelon Festival shall be observed annually during the last four days of the first week in August.

(b) The Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival in Columbus County is adopted as the official Southeastern North Carolina Watermelon Festival. The Fair Bluff Watermelon Festival shall be observed annually during mid-July.

(c) Nothing in this act shall be construed to obligate the General Assembly to appropriate funds to implement the provisions of this act.

(d) Nothing in this act shall be construed to obligate Hertford County or Columbus County to expend funds for the purposes of this act. (1993, s. 212, s. 1.)

 

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