Triple-digit temperatures won't dry up this year's watermelon crop in the Rush Springs area, a legislator said Thursday.
Most of the watermelons were harvested before the onslaught of the extremely hot weather, said Rep. Joe Dorman, who brought about 30 watermelons to the state Capitol to promote next weekend's 68th Rush Springs Watermelon Festival.
Dry summer weather put a strain on the crop, but most watermelons fared well because of sufficient rains early in the growing season, said Dorman, D-Rush Springs.
This year's crop is much better than a year ago, when triple-digit temperatures and dry weather plagued the area about a month earlier and stymied growth.
“The drought really hit us bad last year,” Dorman said. “This year, it has been a little bit drier and the melons are a little bit smaller than normal, but the quality has been fantastic. The smaller melons are a little bit sweeter. It's just been great — everywhere we've gone so far, people have been very pleased with the quality of the melons.”
Dorman kept busy for more than an hour slicing melons for 2012 Watermelon Queen May'zey Brown to serve to Capitol workers and officials.
The watermelon festival, sponsored by the Rush Springs Lions Club, is a major event for Rush Springs, said Merlene Rust, a Lions Club member and former watermelon grower.
Growers from a 30-mile radius are eligible to enter the various contests, Rust said.
Growers raise about seven kinds of watermelons.