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Small town, big melons

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News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301 http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/sites/all/themes/mitchellrepublic_theme/images/social_default_image.png
The Daily Republic
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Small town, big melons
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

FORESTBURG -- "The Small Town with the Big Melons."

That's the slogan Forestburg is using to promote a new festival to raise money for fixing roads.

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The first-ever Forestburg Melon Festival -- focusing on watermelons -- will be Saturday at the town's old baseball field. Signs will mark the way from state Highway 34 at the corner of Corliss Avenue and 405th Avenue.

The unincorporated town of 73 residents in Sanborn County received grant money several years ago to pave some roads. But the roads were not regularly maintained and most need to be repaved, said Adam Alt, a member of the Forestburg Community Club. He said the roads will likely receive a thick overlay of asphalt.

One section on Main Street can be salvaged with a chip-seal, he added.

So the club decided to hold the festival to raise money to fix the roads. It's a natural choice since the Forestburg area is known statewide as a prime melon-growing area.

The festival will begin at 11 a.m. Saturday and there is a $5 admission fee from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We'll definitely raise enough money to chip-seal one section," he said. "We're just trying to take it in our own hands to raise enough money to do one block at a time."

He said the club got a $35,000 estimate to do all four blocks about a year and a half ago. To chip-seal the section of Main Street will cost about $1,000, he said.

Part of the fundraising is entrance fees. Car show participants will pay a $15 fee and winners will receive prizes.

At 4 p.m., there will be an ATV mud run. Participants will also pay a $15 fee and winners receive prizes.

Spectators for those events will pay $5.

There will be a $10 charge to attend a 9 p.m. dance featuring Hadley & The Renegades.

Or, there will be a $15 charge to attend all three events, Alt said.

There will be a melon-eating contest around 2 p.m. and free slices of watermelon will be available all day.

There will also be some food vendors and craft booths available, said DeDe Collins, one of the event organizers. Kids games will also be available, like a cup toss, ball throw and minnow races.

"Hopefully we have a great turnout this year and we can expand next year," Collins said.

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