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The 25th annual Shelby County What-A-Melon Festival, sponsored by the Center Rotary Club began is officially underway as "cutting of the melon" took place yesterday.


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


There's a full schedule of events planned for Saturday, beginning with the What-A-Melon Crawl 5K Run and Walk at 7 a.m. It's not too late to sign up, just be at the registration table before events start.


J.J. Ford is Rotary Club president, and says money raised from the What-A-Melon Crawl goes to local scouting.


In addition, the Shelby County Cruisers' Car Show is from 9 to 11 Saturday morning, with carnival rides opening at 3, followed by the seed spitting and speed eating at 4 p.m. 


The highlight event of the festival is the What-A-Melon weigh-in at 5. Festival chairman is Thomas Morrison. He says this year's crop looks pretty good.


Morrison says some 20 melons are expected for the weigh-in. Last year's winner tipped the scales at 163 pounds.


The What-A-Melon Pageant is at 6 o'clock Saturday, and Johnson’s Lost Crows from Shelbyville will take to the stage at 8.


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 again tonight and Saturday night from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.


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