I remember driving with my family from Florence
to the Charlotte, N.C., area
to visit relatives when I was a little girl. The trip always took us through the tiny town of Pageland
– watermelon capital of the world. I loved watermelon and my name was Page, so it only made sense that I would one day be the queen of Pageland.
Well, my royal aspirations fell short, much to the delight, I am sure, of the nearly 3,000 would-be subjects in my 4-square-mile kingdom.
But the town will see plenty of queens – beauty queens, that is – riding around this weekend for the 2013 Pageland Watermelon Festival
The festival began in 1951 to promote the area’s primary crop. Then, as now, the watermelon-eating and seed-spitting competitions were main events along with the usual festival fare of a parade, beauty pageant and street dance.
Over the years, events have been added including a rodeo on Friday night, starting at 7 p.m. at the American Legion Field, and a car show on Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. on Pearl Street.
This year, there are two free concerts with dancing at a gazebo, one Friday and one Saturday night starting at 8 p.m.
How my favorite S.C. town got its name: The town was founded in 1908 and named for Adolphus High Page, who brought the Chesterfield and Lancaster Railroad to this part of Chesterfield County.
If you’re going:
If you want to make a weekend of it, Pageland has two motels.
The Guest Lodge
(843) 672-6117, 910 W. McGregor St., offers AAA and AARP discounts.
(843) 672-7225, 703 N. Pearl St., offers AARP discounts and is right in the middle of the celebration.