The Watermelon Festival, one of the longest running festivals in Los Angeles, is racing over to the infield of Santa Anita Park for its 53rd year. The new venue is family friendly and more spacious for the ever expanding and anticipated summer celebration.
Favorite activities include the Watermelon Eating and Seed Spitting Contests, the Watermelon Bean Bag Toss and the return of the Greased Watermelon Races. The Watermelon Pavilion will have hourly Watermelon Carving and Cooking demonstrations. The new and improved Watermelon-O-
For the first time this year a Watermelon Carving Competition will take the stage in the Watermelon Pavilion at 5:00pm. The intricate, beautiful and whimsical sculpted melons will be judged by a panel of Celebrity Chefs and auctioned off at the end of each day for the festival goers to take home. Returning this year is Chef Joseph Poon of Philadelphia who will, once again, amaze audiences with his lightening fast carving techniques and delicious and easy recipes. Students from the Sculpting Club of the International Culinary Schools at The Art Institute-Inland Empire, a Campus of Argosy University, will also do cooking and carving demonstrations and compete in the Watermelon Carving Competition. Another highlight is the Watermelon Recipe Contest with categories in Appetizers, Entrees, Beverages and Desserts. (Please check the website for guidelines.)
New this year, the Trompers of Eagle Rock, a vintage car club, will be displaying an array of classic cars. Founded in 1945, the members have everything from Model T's to hot rods and muscle cars. It's a sure crowd pleaser. And...joining us for first time are ‘Lucky' and ‘Winnie,' the Santa Anita Race Track Mascots who will be a delight for kids and fun for photo ops.
As always, the festival opens with the Coronation of the Watermelon Queen and King, and their Court. This year's ceremony, on Saturday, is at 11:00am on the Main Stage. The 2014 National Watermelon Queen, Brandi Harrison, will assist with the ceremony, courtesy of the National Watermelon Promotion Board that is returning as a Diamond Sponsor.
Returning growers, who are donating watermelons for the event, include Van Groningen & Sons, Inc. and their Yosemite Fresh label, who will also have their 53 foot Watermelon decorated truck on display, along with George Perry & Sons and their Perry and Sons label, as well as Sweet Treat grown by Pappas & Company. New growers are Kirschenman Ent. Inc. and their Melon Head brand, and Thomson International Inc. with their GLC Thomson International label.
The festival is also pleased to announce that Saturday nights' headliner at, 7:00pm, is ROSE ROYCE, the ever popular R&B band, whose hits include “Car Wash.” On Sunday at 6:00pm, the closing night headliners are THE FINALISTS featuring ELLIOTT YAMIN (American Idol) and MELISSA “MJ” JIMINEZ (The Voice) with JACK MACK & the HEART ATTACK HORNS. Additional stage talent for Saturday includes returning favorites the RADIO DISNEY ROAD CREW, vaudevillians EVANS and ROGERS, Louisiana's HENRY TURNER JR. & FLAVOR and SoCal's LANDIA BAND. Sunday's lineup features the DILL PURPLE GENIUSES, the Caribbean band, UPSTREAM, ROCK THEATRE, and the BULL DAWG BLUES BAND. More acts will be announced shortly. (Please check the website for exact talent lineup and times.)
Additional features include a Bazaar marketplace with arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, personal services and product marketing. The Community Courtyard showcases the diverse and dynamic organizations that help the community thrive. Joining us again is the ever popular Wild Life Waystation. The Kids' Zone has Face Painting, Classic Clowns, Pony Rides and a free Petting Zoo. Kids and teens will further enjoy the Carnival Rides and Arcade Games, furnished by Kastl Amusements. Rides include The Tornado, Zipper, Tea Cups and a 42' high Ferris Wheel. Games include Goldfish, Water Race, Basketball and Balloon Pop, among others. Unlimited Ride Tickets are available for purchase at Santa Anita Park.
On Saturday, the Radio Disney Road Crew will be on-site with contests, games and prizes and on Sunday, the Galaxy Star Squad returns, this year with an inflatable Soccer Game. Stop by their booth to pick up some free Galaxy prizes, and enter to win merchandise autographed by LA Galaxy players. More Special Guests will be announced.
The Food Court features an array of popular festival and fair favorites. This year's scrumptious menu items include Watermelon Glazed Turkey Legs, Watermelon and Cheese Cilantro Salad, Watermelon Funnel Cakes, Popcorn, Cotton Candy and Turkish Delight Candy. Watermelon Lemonade, Margaritas and Coolers will also be available.
Ara Zeithlan, President of the Sunland-Tujunga Lions Club, comments, “We decided to move the event to Santa Anita Park as it is a larger area that allows more attractions and is very family friendly. We also decided to move the festival to July in honor of National Watermelon Month and to showcase the Western Watermelon Association members and their sweet, tasty and locally grown fruit.”
Funds raised by the Watermelon Festival are used by the Sunland-Tujunga Lions Club to support local youth and community activities, disaster relief, and health and vision conservation programs in California, across the nation and throughout the world.
So, mark your calendars, come have some fun, eat to your hearts delight and be a part of the 53rd Sunland-Tujunga Lion's Club Watermelon Festival at Santa Anita Park on July 19 and 20, 2014.
For additional information contact: Marcia Groff, Entertainment Enterprises, 310-721-1592, entertainmg@
John M. Forrester
John M. Forrester