By Robin Hunt
The annual Melon Days Festival is a celebration of Green River’s famously tasty melons as well as the city’s equally wonderful growers. On Friday and Saturday, Green River residents, tourists and those who just can’t stay away from those Green River melons gathered in celebration of the 115th annual Melon Days.
“Naturally, I was humbled and honored to have been selected to be the 2021 Parade Grand Marshall,” said Mitch Vetere, who served for over 37 years as an officer in the Green River area. “I do care very much about Green River. I am also proud to come from one of the families that has raised melons in the Green River Valley for over 60 years. Even though I have not been actively involved in the melon business, I know and watch how hard the work is to produce those wonderful melons we all have grown to love.”
Activities over the weekend included a vendor fair, bounce houses, a 5K Melon Run, melon carving, a golf tournament, a softball tournament, wild west dancing, the Melon Days parade, a Melon Days fun shoot, and, of course, the melon. Thayn Melons, Dunham Melons and Vetere Melons were all chopped up and served to the public as they pursued the vendors and activities at the park.
There was just one entry for the melon carving contest. Kate Weigel turned in an incredible melon brain carving, which sat at the city booth to be admired as people passed by. She received a cash prize for her efforts. In the end, the Rascal Martinez concert had to be cancelled as what had been a beautiful, sunny day turned windy and rainy.
“Melon Days has always been a reason for those that have grown up in the area to return, mostly to see friends and family and enjoy the celebration,” Vetere continued. “I have many friends from out of the area that have been visiting Green River during the melon season. One thing in common is they all comment as to how wonderful the melons taste. I am hopeful this tradition will continue. I also hope everyone will take the time to thank the melon growers in the area. They each give so much to make Melon Days happen.”
Next year’s celebration is scheduled for the third weekend of September (Sept. 16-17).