The Peach and Melon Festival By: Sierra Dyson
Originally called the Free Fall Fair, the Peach and Melon Festival takes place in De Leon, Texas, a small town located in Comanche County, the first full week in August. The festival originally began in 1914 only a month after the start of World War 1 as a way to celebrate the town’s cotton, peanut, and watermelon harvest. The festival has grown tremendously over the past one hundred years since it began and has slowly evolved into what is now known as the Peach and Melon Festival. The name change is due to the vast amounts of peaches and watermelons that local farmers have continued to grow year after year and donate to the event. The festival boasts a variety of different activities for locals and visitors to be a part of if they so choose. The week kicks off with a carnival that is set up in a field on the edge of town complete with its own Big Top Fun House, Ferris wheel, Tilt-a-whirl, Zipper, and other rides that run all week starting at 5 p.m. During that time span, the town also holds a pageant where young women from the area can run for the honor of becoming Miss De Leon and the Peach and Melon Festival Queen. The winner of the pageant gets to ride on a float and represent the town for a whole year at various events held throughout the surrounding counties. Additionally, there is a parade on Wednesday night where spectators can see beautiful floats from nearby areas go by as well as antique cars, bands, trick riders on their horses, and so much more all for their viewing pleasure. Afterward, spectators can walk over to the First Baptist Church parking lot to have free peach tea, peach ice cream, and peach cobbler all while listening to local musicians play their music on a stage set up nearby. Other activities that are held throughout the week that people can attend is the watermelon slicing, seed spitting contest, spaghetti luncheon, watermelon crawl (5K run), a 42 tournament, Texas swing dance, Spanish dance, Karaoke night, and finally a huge tractor pull which has the largest consecutively running pulls in Texas, featuring dual tracks. The festival ends with Golden Saturday, an event where all of downtown De Leon is closed off and vendors set up their food trailers, crafts, jewelry booths, and other things of that nature for people to look at and buy. It is basically a huge trade fair where children can get their faced painted and play games while their parents shop around and try all kinds of yummy treats. Today, people from all over Texas come to enjoy everything this week long festival has to offer. With that being said, I highly encourage you and your family to come to De Leon to see this cute little festival for yourself the first full week in August, you won’t regret it.