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The opening ceremonies for the 25th annual What-A-Melon Festival, sponsored by the Center Rotary Club will be held at 5 o'clock this afternoon, as local dignatries, along with event organizers and the community gather under the big tent on the downton Center square to officially "cut the melon" on the three day event, according to Rotary Club President J.J. Ford.


She said vendor booths and carnival rides will also get underway at this time. Tonight there's live entertainment starting at 5:30 featuring several church groups and individuals.


Ms. Ford said festival attendees will find some familiar and new vendors. 

She added it's also a good time to do some early Christmas shopping


Festival gates open at 3 p.m. Friday, with sign up of for the pet show at 5:30, and the Darrin Morris Band from Longview will play at 7 o'clock.


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 tonight, Friday night and Saturday night 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 today. Adult sizes are $15, Children's sizes and caps are $10. All items will be on sale at the festival.

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