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The 25th annual What-A-Melon Festival, sponsored by the Center Rotary Club will be held this Thursday through Saturday in downtown Center.


Opening ceremonies will be at 5 o’clock Thursday, as the official “cutting of the melon” takes place. The vendor booths and carnival will also get underway at that time.


According to Center Rotary Club President, J.J. Ford, Thursday night has become a “family night” for festival goers. She said gospel singing will be the entertainment tomorrow night starting at 5:30. Scheduled to perform is the Mt. Zion Youth Choir, followed by First Baptist Church, Charles Delaney, First Christian Church and Principle de Paz Youth at 9 p.m.


Ms. Ford says festival gates open at 3 p.m. Friday, with sign up of for the pet show at 5:30.


She added the Darrin Morris Band from Longview will play at 7 Friday night.


Saturday is the big day with the What-A-Melon Crawl 5K Run and Walk, the Shelby County Cruisers' Car Show from 9 to 11, with carnival rides opening at 3, followed by the seed spitting and speed eating at 4 p.m., and a highlight event of the festival, the What-A-Melon weigh-in at 5. The pageant begins at 6 p.m. and Johnson’s Lost Crows from Shelbyville will take to the stage at 8 p.m.


Admission to the What-A-Melon Festival is a one-time fee of $4 for a button, and free for kids 5 and under.


Also, the carnival armbands are $20 for all-u-can ride Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.


WHAT-A-MELON t-shirts are available at Farmers State Bank, Shelby Savings Bank, and the Chamber of Commerce until noon Thursday. Adult sizes are $15, Children's sizes and caps are $10. All items will be on sale at the festival.

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