Meet the Watermelon Festival Parade Committee, and find out

Members of the HCWF Parade Committee hard at working lining up the H.C. Watermelon Festival Parade. They are (clockwise from left) Junier Dopson, Steve Kemmerlin, David Ellis and Ronald "Breeze" Winn.

Putting on a normal parade is no easy task. The Hampton County Watermelon Festival is no normal parade. 

The crown jewel of H.C. Watermelon Festival events, this massive parade spans two towns – roughly 2.2 miles – and includes more than a hundred entries each year and thousands of spectators. This year’s parade began in Varnville at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday and concluded in the town of Hampton just before lunchtime. 

As you can imagine, this parade takes months of planning in advance, from organizing the layout on paper, to clearing highways and even stopping a train. 

“The parade is the big event, the culmination of the entire festival in just a couple of hours, but it is unbelievable the amount of work that goes into it, taking applications, people showing up at the last minute wanting to get in, people coming late or not showing up at all, putting the right queens on the right float, etc.,” said Festival Co-Chair William Koger. “But more people attend this event than any festival event, so all the hard work is worth it. I love the parade, it’s a great one, and it’s bigger and better than any other parade in the state, in my opinion.”