Melon Days

A highlight of the summer, Green River’s Melon Days festival features a full parade on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 10 a.m. [Courtesy photo]

A highlight of the season in southeastern Utah, Green River Melon Days takes place on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sept. 21 in Green River.

The festival offers opportunities for showing off your seed-spitting skills, eating all the melon you can stomach, playing in a sports tournament, spinning around at a square dance, attending a live country music concert and so much more.

While it’s a beloved event in the region, few realize how long the event has been held.

“Over 100 years!” said Jackie Nelson proudly. She’s co-coordinator of this year’s Melon Days festival with her great-niece Robin.

“Obviously, it hasn’t been this big for a 100 years but the festival has been in existence for 100 years. It started out as a small, local harvest festival but it has grown into what it is now,” she said.

It isn’t just the residents of Green River that attend the festival, either. Due to its increasing popularity, people have started coming from all over for Melon Days.

“This event is pretty unique because it's such a small town,” said Robin Nelson. “There are people that come from all over the state and out of state because they hear about our melons and they hear about this festival.”

The festival is packed with activities, from a day of competitive melon-themed games to a full parade on Saturday at 10 a.m.

“There's actually a chicken show this year, too,” said Robin Nelson.

Last year, Moab resident Sascha Steinberg enjoyed the festival so much that she is a vendor at the festival this year.

“The thrift store last year had these popsicles that were a bunch of different random melon flavors paired with other fruits,” Steinberg said. “They were the best thing to eat for sure."

Steinberg also spoke highly of the annual 5k race, which takes place Saturday morning.

“The high school cheerleaders put it on and the route is so cool,” Steinberg said. “It's through the town and past melon patches. It's an insider’s tour of the melon farms."

John King, a rising country music artist, will perform a free concert at the closing of the festival at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“I'm really excited about the John King concert,” Robin Nelson said. “He's a bigger artist than we've had before and he puts on a good show. We’re excited to have him.”

While Melon Days may be over a century old, there’s nothing outdated about the fun to be had at this festival.

When asked what her own personal favorite part of the festival is, Robin responded simply, “Definitely the melon!”