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Eight directors and employees at Howard Memorial Hospital graduated from a leadership training class on Wednesday. A graduation ceremony and chamber coffee was held. Mike Harbour is the class teacher. The class graduates included: Donna Morris (not pictured), Gayla Lacefield, Mona Lewis, Pam Mcelyea, Adrienne Pickett, Beth Schooley, Carolyn Williams and Susan Wingrove.
Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce Director Mark Keith talked about the upcoming Watermelon Festival at Wednesday's Nashville Rotary club meeting.
Watermelons have long been a calling card for the City of Hope. The Festival itself dates back to the mid-1920's when the city's Chamber of Commerce staged a one-day Festival each year. The early Watermelon Festivals bear little resemblance to the recent ones. During the 1920's-era festivals, citizens served ice-cold watermelon to passengers on the many trains which stopped in Hope. The festival also featured a "Watermelon Queen" pageant and a large parade. These early festivals brought upwards of 20,000 people in a day to Hope. The end to the first festivals came about 1931 when the city, suffering from the effects of the depression, could no longer accommodate the crowds.
Hope celebrated its centennial in 1975. The event was a rousing success and local residents started thinking about another celebration. Local promoter and newspaper man C.M. "Pod" Rogers organized a new Watermelon Festival in 1977. The success of this first reorganized festival led to the event gaining annual status. Since the 1970's, the festival has continued to grow, attracting approximately 50,000 visitors to Hope over a four-day period.
The 38th annual Hope Watermelon Festival is set for August 7th through 9th in Hope’s Fair Park. The festival opens at noon Thursday August 7th. Jim “Bear” Barentine will perform through the afternoon on the BancorpSouth stage. Events that day include the Kiwanis Chicken Dinner that evening, the dog show on the BancorpSouth stage at 7:30pm and the preliminaries of the Watermelon Idol Talent Contest at 6pm on the McDonald’s stage in the coliseum. For info on Watermelon Idol visit uacch.edu. Music begins outside the coliseum on the R.C. Cola stage at 6:30pm with Rudy Preston and friends including Carl Jackson. At 8pm the Night Hawk band will perform. Wyatt Putman from Spring Hill, Arkansas will be featured at 7:30pm on the 1st Bank stage.
Friday August 8th the festival will open at 9am. Highlights include music from Jim “Bear” Barentine on the BancorpSouth stage through the day. The Lions Club fish and chicken dinner is set for the Fair Park Community Center from 4:30pm to 7pm. Arthur Horneman of Hope will sing on the BancorpSouth stage at 5:30pm. At 6:30pm Rev. Wallace Ingram will perform on the BancorpSouth stage. At 8pm the BancorpSouth stage will host the Jason Helms Band. Friday evening on the 1st Bank stage will be the group “Harmony” from Wickes, Arkansas. Inside the coliseum on the McDonald’s stage will be the Little Miss and Little Mr. Watermelon Pageant sponsored by Beta Sigma Phi. Outside the coliseum will be the Washington Vintage Dancers at 7pm followed by Buzz Andrews at 7:30pm.
Saturday August 9th will feature the 5k race and the “Melon Mile” for kids, an antique car show, a kid’s fishing derby on Lake Huckabee in Fair Park from 9am until 11am, the “Politically Correct” watermelon eating contest at 11:30am on the BancorpSouth Stage, the regular watermelon eating contest at noon, and the seed-spitting contest at 1pm on the 1st Bank stage. At 2pm will be the arm-wrestling competition on the 1st Bank stage. Earlier in the day will be the “melon judging and auction”, your chance to buy a giant Hope watermelon at the Super 1 Foods tent. Other activities include the Yerger Museum Bingo, “money in the haystack”, and the antique engine show. Entertainment will include Carl Jackson, the “Brazzel Gospel Hour” featuring the Garrett Memorial Quartet, the Gable Bradley Band, and the Watermelon Idol finals.
The final activity at the festival is a concert by David Nail. Opening acts include Barrett Baber and the winner of the Watermelon Idol competition. Advance general admission tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 4 to 10. Reserved seats are available at uacch.edu. Adult general admission tickets will be $20 on the day of the show.
The festival will feature over 200 booths of arts and crafts as well as a dozen concession stands selling everything from bar b que to corn dogs to blooming onions and alligator on a stick.
There is a $5 parking fee which benefits the Chamber of Commerce, the Boy Scouts, and the Hope Rotary fee. There is no admission fee. For complete information visit hopemelonfest.com, phone 870-777-3640, or visit Hope Arkansas Melonfest on facebook.
LITTLE ROCK – Dozens of volunteers packed more than 45,000 meals Sunday for Arkansans who routinely do not get enough to eat.
Senator Larry Teague of Nashville and his son, Larry, were among the volunteers who helped the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance meet its goals. They were joined by legislators from 15 states who were here for the annual meeting of the Southern Legislative Conference.
Teague has been a consistent volunteer at hunger relief events, in his capacity as a state legislator and as an ordinary citizen. In 2010 Teague received the 2010 Acting Out Against Hunger Award from the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance because of his consistent support of hunger relief efforts at both the statewide and the local level.
Teague is vice chairman of the Legislative Hunger Relief Caucus.
“In a state like Arkansas, which has such a strong agricultural base and exports food throughout the world, no one should ever go hungry,” Teague said.
According to the Hunger Relief Alliance, Arkansas and Mississippi are at the bottom of national surveys on food security. In both states almost a fifth of all households are categorized as “food insecure.” That means they regularly live days in which they are unsure of where their next meal is coming from.
In the summertime, children are at special risk of going hungry because they do not get free or reduced priced meals at school.
“The food packaging event was a great success, first of all because we packed 45,000 meals that will go to people who need them. Secondly it was a learning experience for many of the volunteers, who included legislators and policy makers from all across the South. It was an eye opening experience,” Teague said.