Watermelon Festival 2016

by Anne Haw Holt

Monticello and Jefferson County Florida will celebrate their sixty-sixth annual WatermelonHeaderWatermelon Festival beginning with beauty pageants on June 4, 2016. The pageants will be followed up with events such as a great kick-off dinner (must be counted as part of the famous, deliciously satisfying Monticello Food Trail) followed up by a Bed Race on June 10.  Yes I said…Bed Race….you don’t want to miss it. This traditional race is silly, funny and I found it absolutely delightful.DSC_0357

Have you ever thought of entering a watermelon seed spitting contest? Or have you run a race wearing watermelon Shoes? Don’t miss the Watermelon Patch, watching your friends seriously try to win one of these events is as much fun or more than participating.

In addition to all the fun events, the town will be full of interesting vendors selling everything from cotton candy and Kettle Korn to hot dogs and handmade handbags. You’ll find pottery, jewelry, wood carving, books and other works of art all along Cherry, Dogwood and Pearl Streets in front of our gorgeous historic buildings.

Most small town festivals are hokey and old fashioned, but infinitely charming. This one is also surprisingly entertaining and definitely worth attending every event. Wear comfortable shoes and plan to stay late. No one does this better than Monticello….you’ll be charmed.

Watermelon Festival Schedule

June 4th  Pageants
June 10th Kick -Off Dinner, Bed Race, and new this year – Rodeo
June 11th – Rodeo
June 16th – Woman’s Club Fashion Show
June 17th Arts & Crafts, Rotary BBQ, Street Dance, Kids Show – Tale of Peter Rabbit
June 18th Kiwanis 5K Run, FMB Breakfast, MADCo. Kids Show – Tale of Peter Rabbit,  Platform Events, Parade, Arts & Crafts and new this year Watermelon Contests in the Watermelon Patch

Dinner on the Monticello Food Trail

by Anne Haw Holt

I’m so thankful I was born in the South. If I hadn’t been I would hire someone to teach me to speak with a Tidewater accent then I would lie. Yes, I would just plain-out lie. I’d swear I was born in Richmond Virginia or Monticello Florida. I’d have dozens of cousins and at least one eccentric uncle. My father would be handsome and my mother would be a true lady, educated somewhere like Mary Baldwin or Radford College. Southerners just know how to live.Wirick-Simmons House ca 1831

Dinner at the restored 1833 Wirick-Simmons House in Monticello was like taking a trip back in time—a house full of people, happy and interested, where even newcomers are treated as old friends. The lighting was a soft glow on the pale walls and high ceilings, showing off the museum quality furniture. It made the women more beautiful and the men more interesting.

The men and women of the Jefferson County Historical Association dressed the tables in white linen with crisp cloth napkins folded at each place. Polished silver utensils, a tall crystal wineglass and a stemmed silver water cup graced every plate. The candles flickered in soft breezes from the open doorways. Someone with artistic handwriting created name cards.

We talked—oh, how we talked—between each course of the delicious meal. We ate beef tenderloin done to a turn, served with potatoes, vegetables and tiny, delicious Parker House rolls. Our dessert was a piece of chocolate pie with a cherry sauce and steaming coffee. It was obvious no one wanted the evening to end.

The Wirick-Simmons House Dinner showcased our southern tradition of good food, perfectly prepared and elegantly presented to a house full of friends. Nothing could be better—it is the South at its best.