News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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December 13, 2012

Annual Watermelon Drop to ring in New Year in Vincennes

One of the nation’s “Top Ten Quirkiest New Year’s Eve Celebrations,” the fifth annual Watermelon Drop, returns to Vincennes’ Riverfront Pavilion on Dec. 31.

A large crowd is expected to cheer and raise a toast as an 18-foot, 500-pound watermelon rises high in the sky during the New Year’s countdown. At the stroke of midnight, 13 Knox County watermelons will drop to a “splatform” as fireworks light the sky.

“There is no better way to usher in the New Year than with splatting watermelons and fireworks,” said Shanon O’Toole, chair of the National Watermelon Drop Committee that organizes the celebration.  

The Watermelon Drop has been featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Show and editors of the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor Inc., listed the event among its 2011 “Top Ten Quirkiest New Year’s Eve Celebrations in America.” The list also included North Carolina’s Possum Drop, Pennsylvania’s Bologna Drop, and Alabama’s MoonPie Drop. (www.multivu.com/mnr/49253-tri

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-eve-celebrations-in-america)

New this year will be a Barbecue Cook-Off Contest with judging at 9 p.m. — the start time of the celebration at the Riverfront Pavilion. The top prize is $500 with a $250 second prize. Businesses, clubs and families are also invited to reserve space to set up tents or campers adjacent to the pavilion on either Busseron Street or First Street.

“The barbecue cook-off should add to the festivities that include music, food and drink vendors, and a variety of New Year’s product vendors. We hope the cook-off can grow in popularity just as the Watermelon Drop has through the years,” O’Toole said.

Since its creation in 2008, the 18-foot watermelon has become a star attraction in Vincennes, with people applauding its procession in the town’s July 4th and Christmas parades. People also enjoy sharing photographs and YouTube videos of themselves standing next to the 18-foot-long watermelon.

The Watermelon Drop site is adjacent to Vincennes’ Riverfront Pavilion at First and Busseron streets. “The site allows activities to take place under one roof with restroom facilities, electrical power and propane heaters. The site is also near several commercial businesses and fraternal organizations that sponsor New Year’s events, making downtown Vincennes the place to be on New Year’s Eve,” O’Toole said.

Beginning at 9 p.m., revelers at Riverfront Pavilion will enjoy food, drink, music, games, noisemakers and of course, fun. There also will be a DJ and karaoke. An assortment of Watermelon Drop clothing and novelty items will also be for sale.

“Last year’s Watermelon Drop was big, and this year’s event should be even bigger as word of the celebration continues to spread. In fact, at the rate this event is growing, it’s only a matter of time before the networks add Vincennes to its televised coverage of worldwide New Year’s extraordinary extravaganzas. There are few spectacles like this one,” O’Toole said.

Indiana’s first city, founded in 1732, Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, well-known for its multi-million dollar melon crops that are shipped throughout the nation.

The entry fee for the barbecue cook-off contest is $50, and for vendors it is $25. For reservations, call Shannon at 812-885-2640. Space rental for tents and campers is $25 with reservations made by calling the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-886-6443.

The Watermelon Drop will be broadcast live on www.wzdm.com.

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