Contributed by Beckie Moore
Friday, June 14, 2019, Hope, AR, The Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce is taking a step back in time as they make plans for the upcoming Watermelon Festival Queen Contest. The contest will be staged as it was in the 30’s and 40’s when queen contestants garnered points for inviting people to shop in local businesses.
Gigi Bradshaw, contest organizer, stated, “For many years now, the older girls have not entered the pageant in great numbers. We hope this will change as we make sweeping changes that will not only benefit the contestants but will also benefit local businesses.”
The contest is open to girls (ages 16 – 20) who live in Hope & Hempstead County. Entry forms may be emailed or picked up at the chamber. To receive an entry form via email, please call the chamber at 870.777.3640 and provide an email address. We will also post the application online. Deadline to enter is July 9, 2019. The chamber is planning an “Introduction of Contestants” during one of the weekly community coffees.
Each contestant will receive a list of participating businesses. From July 12 –July 25, the contestants will encourage people to shop & dine in local businesses in order to gather points. With each person who shops in a local business, the contestant who “invited” them to shop will gain 5 points. Businesses will have a list of contestants and a means in which to reward (with points) each contestant who sends business their way. At this time, the chamber is seeking chamber businesses that want to participate in this unique method of selecting a Watermelon Queen. Any chamber business or restaurant in Hope & Hempstead County is encouraged to join us. Please contact the chamber at the number listed above, or email [email protected] to let the chamber know that you want to participate. Gigi Bradshaw & Beckie Moore will provide the businesses with all that they will need to participate.
Beckie Moore, chamber director, said, “Although this contestformat might seem a bit unusual, it should be exciting for the contestants as well as the local businesses. We are always encouraging people to shop local & dine local, so this is simply another way to stress how important it is for our community to support local businesses. We will ask the contestants to have fun & be creative as they “drum up business” for their hometown.”
The 2019 Watermelon Festival Queen will be announced on Friday, July 26. The Queen will then be able to attend community functions in representing the festival prior to the opening day of the festival on Thursday, August 8, 2019.