By Signe Schloss
There are seven cities in the United States that claim to be “the watermelon capital of the world.” Only one can prevail. Let’s put them to the test and see which can claim the melon-y title.
1. Cordele, Georgia
Watermelon claim to fame: Cordele is in the number one watermelon producing county in Georgia, but it is only fourth in the nation. Despite this, it uses the title due to the quality and quantity of its melons, which it claims are the largest and most luscious. Also, all but one page on the first list of results for the Google search “watermelon capital of the world” refer to Cordele, so it’s the frontrunner in the search engine category.
Watermelon attractions: Cordele hosts the annual Watermelon Days Festival in June, and its racing track is named the Watermelon Capital Speedway.
2. Weatherford, Texas
Watermelon claim to fame: This town was once a major watermelon supplier, but now it quenches thirst by producing beer instead of the juicy fruits.
Watermelon attractions: You can still buy delicious watermelons (and peaches) at the Parker County Farmers Market, but that’s not enough to merit the title of “watermelon capital of the world.” It was voted one of CNN’s best places to retire, though. That’s, y’know, something, right?
Verdict: Spitting seeds
3. Green River, Utah
Watermelon claim to fame: Watermelons are suited for growing in desert climates, and this Utah town grows the best in the state.
Watermelon attractions: This is the location of the “World’s Largest Watermelon,” which is a giant wooden statue of the fruit. They also host an annual Melon Days festival in September, which luckily does not coincide with Cordele’s festival, so fanatic lovers of the fruit can attend both celebrations.
Verdict: Frozen watermelon on a stick
4. Hope, Arkansas
Watermelon claim to fame: The world record biggest watermelon was grown here in 2005, weighing in at 268.8 pounds. The town has a long history of record-breaking watermelons, dating back to a 136 pounder in 1925. It is also the hometown of Bill Clinton, who took a step up (or down?) when he moved from the watermelon capital of the world to the capitol of the United States.
Watermelon attractions: Apparently watermelon festivals are a thing, as Hope holds the Hope Watermelon Festival which includes concerts, a Watermelon Idol contest, and lots of melon consumption.
Verdict: A cool slice
5. Beardstown, Illinois
Watermelon claim to fame: Beardstown is a bit less ambitious than the others, but also more ambiguous. It calls itself simply the “Watermelon Capital,” so it is not seeking global domination. They produce a lot of watermelons here as one of their many agricultural crops.
Watermelon attractions: Spears Family Market is a fruit stand that specializes in flavorful watermelons. Very flavorful watermelons.
Verdict: Watermelon flavored Jell-O shots
6. Rush Springs, Oklahoma
Watermelon claim to fame: A lot of farmers in the area grow watermelons.
Watermelon attractions: You would’ve never guessed, but this town holds the annual Rush Springs Watermelon Festival, where celebrators eat over 50,000 pounds of the fruit and enjoy rodeo shows and watermelon-themed rides.
Verdict: Watermelon rind pie
7. Naples, Texas
Watermelon claim to fame: This town is a big grower of watermelons in East Texas.
Watermelon attractions: I’m sensing a pattern here. Stop by the Watermelon Festival for some melon-y fun.
Verdict: Watermelon Dum-Dum from the bin at the doctor’s office
Final Verdict: I can’t even decide because my mind is blown from discovering that watermelon is both a fruit AND a vegetable?! Leave your vote in the comments.
Signe is starting a watermelon festival so she, too, can be watermelon capital of the world. Find her on Society6.
Green River: http://roadsidewonders.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/giantwatermelon.jpg
Rush Springs: http://cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r620-b318c57c8c8b3c5646656b817b6db759.jpg