There aren’t many parts of Little Rock that I love spending time in more than the South Main area. This year has seen some nice developments for foodies in the neighborhood with the opening of the Green Corner Store Soda Fountain and the new Bernice Garden Farmer’s Market at the corner of Main Street and Daisy Bates. The market at Bernice Garden is one of my favorites in town, full of local folks who not only care about their neighborhood, but want to brag on it to anybody who asks. There have been plenty of fun events this year at the market, but this Sunday will see what’s sure to be a highlight of the season — the first ever Bernice Garden Watermelon Festival. The festival is going to be held from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and along with the regular delicious fare available at the market will include the following:
A Watermelon Eating Contest, with the winner receiving a gift certificate from the Bernice Garden Farmers’ Market to be used at any participating vendor’s booth. The contest starts at 11 a.m. Josh Hardin of Laughing Stock Farms and Hardin Farms is donating some local melons — and he’s also mentioned to me over on Facebook that he’s got 40 acres of purple hulls ready to go as well.
Of course, no celebration of watermelons is complete without a Seed-Spitting Contest, with the winner receiving a free loaf of bread from Boulevard Bread Bakehouse. The contest takes place throughout the day so come early and practice often. In addition, there will be a Kids’ Scavenger Hunt, with the winner receiving a free ice cream cone from Loblolly Creamery. I’m a little sad that this prize is only available for kids, since I’ve become quite addicted to Loblolly — especially the buttermilk flavor. The scavenger hunt begins at 11 a.m.
If you haven’t been through the South Main neighborhood in awhile, or you just haven’t managed to make it to the Bernice Garden market this year, I can’t think of a better time to come down and meet all the local vendors. The fresh produce, local ice cream and friendly people make the market a great way to spend a Sunday morning under normal circumstances, and adding in a bunch of watermelon crazed folks spitting seeds with juice running down their chins and elbows will add just the right amount of crazy to the mix to make it something to remember.