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 City Council Agenda | Meeting Minutes

Watermelon Days

2017WatermelonDaysLogo

WATERMELON DAYS

for 2017 is scheduled for September 8th, 9th & 10th

This will be the 45th Year

visit www.fayettewatermelondays.com for more information.

See below for the list of entertainment and events.

Friday, September 8th, 2017

(Times and events may change)

5-7pm  Free-Will Donation Dinner (Money will go to Watermelon Days) at Fayette Fire Station

5-7pm  Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides

5-7pm  Free Barrel Rides on Main Street

5-7pm  Free Ice Cream Social sponsored by First State Bank on Main Street

6:30pm Mayor Awards & Crowning of Little Miss & Master Fayette and Miss & Mr Fayette on Main Street Stage (Contact Laurie Post at 563-419-6304 for applications)

6:30pm  5k Walk/Run on Main Street   (Registration at 5:30pm)

7:30pm  Tot Trot (Ages 6 and under) & Fun Run (Ages 12 and under) on Main Street

8pm-12am Street Dance with DJ Tommy Friend on Main St.

Saturday, September 9th, 2017

(Times and events may change)

MORNING

10am-3pm  Vendors at the Vendor Fair

11am Parade on Main Street (Line up at 10am on King Street, contact Rick Hofmeyer at 563-422-8090)

11:30-2pm Grace Lutheran Church Luncheon

AFTERNOON

12-4pm FREE Kids Games, FREE Inflatables, FREE Watermelon, FREE Entertainment, FREE Face Painting, FREE Barrel Rides, FREE Fire Truck Rides and more.

12-12:45pm Elvis Impersonator

12-2pm United Methodist Church Luncheon (at the Legion Hall)
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12-3pm Fayette Library Silent Auction (at Fayette Community Library)

1pm Warrior Servant Martial Arts Demonstration

2pm Kids Treasure Hunt at Sand Volleyball Courts

2-2:45pm Square Dancing Show

**EXTRA HOUR**3-5pm  BINGO at Legion Hall

4pm "Dean of Juggling" Family Show on Main Street Stage
 
5-7pm Mr. Nick Balloons Entertainer - Free Balloons for Kids
 
5pm Watermelon Days Button Raffle (1st Prize - $500 Cash) near Main Street Stage

5pm Fayette Fireman's Supper (Free Will Donation)

6-8pm Live Music on Main Street Stage - Anji Kat

8-10pm Live Music near Water Street - Ace Jones
        
Dusk- Fireworks (sponsored by City of Fayette)

**Back By Popular Demand** Sky Lantern Launch following Fireworks on the Main Street Bridge ($5 for 2 lanterns)

10pm-1am Live Music/Street Dance on Main Street - Smoking Gun Showdown (Country and Rock Band)
                 

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

(Times and events may change)

8am Unorganized Tractor Ride - Leaving Gavin's at 9am

9am-3pm Watermelon Days Fayette Car Club Show & Shine at Klock's Island Park (Food booth by Fayette Lions Club)

If you have ideas or would like to help with Watermelon Days this year, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

The History of Fayette Watermelon Days             

What started out as a simple idea has turned into 40 years of celebrating. This year's Fayette Watermelon Days grand marshal is no stranger to the local celebration. Vera (Stepp) Splinter and her extended family are the masterminds behind the original Watermelon Days that took place in 1972. 

              Vera remembers her dad, Atrus "Attie", as an observer. One of his many observations 40 years ago brought him to the City Council and later brought the very first Watermelon Days to Fayette. 

              "He noticed that most of the towns around had celebrations, but Fayette didn't have anything like that," Vera recalled.

              He may not have meant to specifically create Watermelon Days, but after offering to bring melons to the event he helped to orchestrate, the town dubbed it properly. 

              The Fayette native and his wife, Lottie, owned a farm just northwest of the town. There, they, along with their three children, of which Vera was the youngest, farmed a variety of items, including fruit, corn, vegetables, cattle, and more. 

              Vera remembers there being a small crowd that first year, but the celebration taking root and growing more each year. 

              "Dad brought a small flatbed truck with melons the first year, but the loads grew with the crowds. Since it was always hot, they eventually started using tanks to cool the melons," the local woman noted. 

              Attie originally sold his melons from a feed bunk on his front lawn down the gravel road on which the farm was located.  In the 1940s he decided to market the melons on his mother's land right along Hwy 150.  The easily accessible location became a thriving stop for many, as the Stepps sold local produce and products throughout every season.

              It wasn't long before the watermelon business overtook the Stepp family; they eventually increased their crop from a few acres to a total of 90 acres of melons.  Attie would take note of any extra produce and say the family needed to "find a home" for the abundance.  They had stands in Decorah and Mason City, also selling to area grocery stores.

              "We increased the crop as the demand increased," Vera said proudly.

              The Stepps would talk with other melon producers from Iowa and surrounding states. Vera recalls her mom visiting with the wives of the producers and often saying, "They're still talking about melons," in regard to her father and the other farmers. 

              In all their years of supplying product, Vera noted the loyalty of customers from all over Fayette County. People have told Vera countless stories about stopping at the stand to purchase a melon before heading out-of-state or just up the road to visit neighbors. 

              "Those memories are heartwarming to hear," she related.

              The Stepps also sold their famous melons by the slice at the Fayette County Fair from year to year. Vera recalls working at the fair and getting all her best friends to help out as well.  The Stepps also provided many locals with a summer job raking and harvesting the watermelon crop. 

              Although Vera was grown and living on her own by the time Watermelon Days came to fruition, she managed to come home for Watermelon Days one year.

              "I could see all the good things that came about," she noted.

              While many agree that the Stepps played an important role in the Fayette community for many years, Vera said her dad was always humble about any contributions he made.

              "He would always say, 'I didn't do this alone,'" the grand marshal recalled.

              Attie farmed until 1991; he was 95 years old when he planted his last crop.  He passed away in 1993.  There is a life-sized painting of Attie in the Fayette Community Library.

 

 

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