There is fun for the whole family at the McDade Watermelon Festival

Looking for a fun activity to do with the whole family this weekend? Head to McDade for the McDade Watermelon Festival!

The festival always falls on the second Saturday in July.

It will include lots of fun activities like the Sweatin’ Melons 5K, watermelon eating contest, watermelon seed spitting contest, a car show, live music, mule-drawn carriage rides, and more.

If you're too excited to wait until July 9, you can head to Main Street tonight for the McDade Watermelon Festival Street Dance.

Every year, McDade closes off Main Street (Old Hwy 20 between Waco St & Bastrop St. in the Historical District) to hold a community dance that brings everyone together. 

There will be live music, food, and beverages available for purchase on site. There is a 6-dollar entry fee. The street dance begins at 8 pm and goes until midnight. 

The history of the McDade Watermelon Festival

The McDade Watermelon Festival is one of the most successful and longest-running festivals in the state, according to the City of McDade.

World War II was over, and the soldiers came home to McDade. The McDade school had burned down in 1940 and classes were being held in temporary facilities while a new one was being erected. Money was needed for it.

School officials at the time noticed a contest in the Farmer-Stockman magazine, in cooperation with Texas A&M University, called "Neighborhood Progress Contest" offering a $1,000 prize to the winning organization or group. 

The contest was to be of one that would benefit and interest to the whole community. The idea was embraced enthusiastically by all and the McDade Watermelon Festival was created. 

The 1st McDade Watermelon Festival was held on Thursday, July 1, 1948. 

It was held at the temporary school, the McCarty house. With a crowd estimated at 1,000 the first Annual McDade Festival was deemed a success.

The Watermelon Festival organizers met their objectives with the first festival. Unfortunately, they did not win the Farmers-Stockman prize money, but they did win a prestigious Honorable Mention. They also established a community tradition that has withstood time.