The 53rd Sunland-Tujunga Lions Club Watermelon Festival will continue its annual tradition at Santa Anita Park this weekend, July 19 and 20. Since 1961, the Watermelon Festival has grown considerably in scope, with this year’s event raising money for over 70 nonprofit organizations.
After 51 years in Sunland, the festival was moved to the Rose Bowl last year, before finding a new home in Arcadia.
The two-day festival will feature live music, a petting zoo, carnival games and rides, a classic car show and contests such as a watermelon carving contest, growing contest, eating contest, seed spitting contest, recipe contest and wearable art contest (including a Saturday-only wearable art contest for dogs).
The Watermelon Pavilion will feature cooking and carving demonstrations from expert chefs, such as Chef Joseph Poon of Philadelphia, Chef Jesse Sanchez of the Los Angeles Mission School Culinary Dept., students from The Art Institute of California-Inland Empire, a campus of Argosy University, Culinary Arts Program, located in San Bernardino and Chef Daly Thompson of Memphis Bar-BBQ Catering, previous owner of The Pig, Memphis-style barbecue in Los Angeles and Universal City Walk.
As in every year, the annual royal court will be part of the festivities. The royal court contestants are high school students who have raised money for the various charities and nonprofit organizations involved in the festival.
Participants will be crowned watermelon king, queen, princess and prince based on the number of raffle tickets sold and a public vote. Brandi Harrison, the reigning 2014 National Watermelon Queen, will be on hand during the coronation. Raffle ticket winners may receive cash prizes of up to $500, tickets to sporting events and more.
Watermelon will not only be prevalent during the weekend – it will be free!
Advance tickets are priced at $8 for adults and $4 for children. At the gate, prices are $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under, $8 for seniors and active military and free admission for children under 2.
For more information, visit www.lionswatermelonfestival.com or call (800) 955-1277.
Santa Anita Park is located at 285 W. Huntington Dr. in Arcadia.