Carytown Watermelon Festival, Richmond
They sure enough picked the right time of year for this festival. During the hottest days of August, nothing is quite like eating an ice cold watermelon. Some folks like the good buys from the vendors which only set up their tents for this event and from local established retailers. It started out as just a sidewalk sale because this is traditionally a slow retail time of year and, from there, it grew into what it's become now. It really got to be big when West Cary Street became closed to traffic during the event. A buck can also get you a slice of watermelon from the Richmond Shriners, who sold about 800 watermelons last year. All proceeds benefit children's hospitals throughout the country. For the festival, Cary Court is turned into a children's area where there is a mini fun fair for the little nippers. Festival planners added another stage to this year's event to accommodate the more than 80 musicians who will perform. Free parking is available on side streets as well as in two parking decks at either end of Carytown. Merchandise can cost anywhere from $1 for watermelon to $1,000 for jewelry. The 2006 watermelon festival was different in a couple of ways. First, it was milder than usual. In 2004 and 2005, I didn't go because it was too hot. Second, I met Congressman Eric Cantor and an old high school friend who was part of the live entertainment.