106th De Leon Peach and Melon Festival event preview
By: Madison Reed
After years of tradition had to be halted last year due to COVID-19, De Leon is proud to be hosting their 106th annual Peach and Melon Festival once again. The festival will start Wednesday, Aug. 4 and will continue until Saturday, Aug. 7. The theme of this year’s festival is Alice in Wonderland.
Events will kick off on Wednesday at 6 p.m. with the Triple T Amusement Carnival, the Kiddie Tractor Pull will begin at 7 p.m. and the selection of Lil Petite and Junior Miss De Leon will follow around the same time, all of which will be located at the De Leon festival grounds on Highway 6 headed towards Dublin. The night will end with the selection of the Peach and Melon Queen at 9:30 p.m.
On Thursday, the carnival will return at 6 p.m. and at 8 p.m. the DC Karaoke will take place.
The carnival will kick off again on Friday at 6 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., the Tractor Pull with the Texas Truck and Tractor Pullers Association (TTTPA) and the Old Time Tractor Pulling Association (OTTPA) will be held at the festival arena. In addition, the El Conjunto Double RR’s will have a Spanish dance, which will cost $15 per person and starts at 7:30 p.m., at the festival stage.
Finally, on Saturday, the day will start at 8 a.m. with a 42 tournament at the Perkins Middle School. For the first time this year, the annual parade, which is usually held on Wednesday night, will be on Saturday and start at 10 a.m. Golden Saturday which will be held downtown down on the locally know Texas Street (Highway 16) and the Ex-student Reunion which will be at the De Leon High School will start at 11 a.m.
To finish the day on Saturday, there will be a Seed Spitting Contest at 1 p.m., a free watermelon slicing at 3 p.m., the carnival again at 6 p.m., night two of the tractor pull at 7:30 p.m., a free Calamity Janes concert at 8 p.m. and the announcement of Miss De Leon at 10:30 p.m.
It will cost $3 to enter the fairgrounds.
According to a flyer found on the Peach and Melon Festival Facebook page, Carnival bracelets—which are good from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.—will cost $30 per person. The tractor pull will cost $20 and a pit pass for the tractor pull will cost $40.2021-deleon-peach-and-melon-festival-schedule-of-events
Another change that will take place this year is people will no longer be allowed to bring coolers. The festival is now licensed to sell beer and wine on the festival grounds, so all drinks will be available for those who would like to purchase them.
According to a member of the Festival Committee, next year’s Festival Chairwoman and the Secretary-Treasurer of the De Leon Chamber of Commerce Shay Benefield, who has been involved with the festival in one way or another her entire life and been on the Committee since 2010, “ [The Peach and Melon Festival] started as a farming community get together and reunion celebration in 1914…and named [the] Peach and Melon [Festival] because they were two of the most dominant crops at the time.”
Due to the fast spread of COVID-19 and the quarantine over the summer last year, De Leon decided not to hold their annual festival, which according to Benefield, “Was canceled for the first-time last year since World War II.”
This year to combat the spread of COVID-19, the festival will install extra sanitation spots and will require all food vendors and other vendors to have disinfectant. Those who would like to wear masks are welcome to do so; however, masks will not be required.
“The more the merrier. The more people—great…this brings people into our little community, so our local businesses are really benefiting from this week as well…it really is a big tradition in this town,” Benefield said about anyone being able to come. “It’s a good time for the community to come together. A lot of people from out of town come and set up vendors and stuff too.”
For more information about the Peach and Melon Festival, you can check out their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pandmfestivalandtractorpull/.