Arkansas June 01, 2018
This Small Town In Arkansas Is Famous For Their World Record Watermelons
There’s reason to visit every small town in Arkansas and Hope is no exception. They’ve kept the tradition of growing world record watermelons since the 1900s. Let’s take a trip to the sweetest town in the state.
Every town has its quirks but none are quite as sweet as Hope's.
This small southwest town has been growing world record watermelons since the 1900s.
A railroad representative originally planted the seeds of this delicious marketing ploy.
C. S. Lawthorp began promoting the oversized melons to shippers and the local farmers quickly took note. John S. Gibson began hosting a competition for the largest melons in 1916. On August 12th, 1925, Hugh and Edgar Laseter established a new standard for giant melons with their 136-lb winning watermelon.
Besides growing record-breaking watermelons, the new seed line created by the Laseters also rallied the town into hosting the first watermelon festival.
The watermelon festival drew huge crowds for the first five years. Unfortunately, the festival was suspended during the Great Depression.
In 1977, a new watermelon giant revitalized the town's festival.
C. E. "Pod" Rogers Jr. had kept the Hope watermelon tradition alive by bringing the melons to fairs around the country and appearing on different TV shows.
Since Pod's time, the festival and competition have continued to grow.
Here's a throwback to the mega melons in the eighties.
The Laseters and Pods weren't the only watermelon giants that Hope produced: another family farm became the face of the melon mecca.
The Bright family has steadily grown giant melons since the seventies. In 1986, Jason Bright earned a title in the Guinness Book of Records for his 260-lb. watermelon.
To this day the Bright family continues to raise awareness and money for the town.
They routinely auction off more than 100-lbs. melons to raise money for the town. They also sell the record smashing seeds on their
This delicious tradition makes a Hope a pretty sweet stop for your next Arkansas day trip.
The 42nd Annual Watermelon Festival will be August 9th, 10th, and 11th, 2018. But any day is a good day to visit Hope!
Have you had a melon from Hope yet? Plan on attending this year’s festival? Share your love of Hope with us in the comments below!
For more summer activities, plan to take a
full moon kayak tour or walk above the trees at this canopy tour.