Community members beat the heat at McDade Watermelon Festival

The heat didn’t keep people from heading out to the 73rd Annual McDade Watermelon Festival. Hundreds gathered for one of the longest running festivals in Texas.

"Yes, it's a little hot, but Texans and McDade folks are tough," 423rd District Court Judge Chris Duggan said.

The first McDade Watermelon Festival was held in 1948 to raise money for the McDade school that burned down. Years later, the festival continues to bring the young and old to the town of about 700 people.

"This is a perfect, if you will, example of wonderful small town Texas," Duggan said.

"It's important, it kind of puts our name on the map, it gets people out," McDade Watermelon Festival 5K chairperson Amanda Miller said.

The festival includes a grand parade featuring tractors, horses, classic cars, and some FOX 7 Austin favorites. On the grounds, there are vendor booths, live music, a watermelon eating contest, seed spitting contest, washer tournament, bingo, and tons of watermelon.

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McDade Watermelon Festival

"I get to eat watermelon," McDade Watermelon Festival Tiny Tot Queen Coral Miller said.

"There's just some of the best watermelon in the world, I usually eat two or three maybe more slices," Duggan said.

Locals compete for prize melon status. "I think the grand champion was 141 something pounds," Duggan said.

Many were excited about the new event this year, the Sweatin’ Melons 5K.

"What’s your favorite part of the festival?" FOX 7 Austin’s Meredith Aldis asked.

"Favorite part? Well, now it's the 5k," Miller said.

Festival organizers said the money raised continues to help the local schools as well as youth programs, the food bank, library, and historical museum.