HANNA, Oklahoma – The annual Watermelon Festival is a long-standing tradition in McIntosh County. The festival attracts tourists from all over the state and even further to the small community located in the central southern area of the Muscogee Reservation.
No one knows exactly how long it has been going but Muscogee citizen and event coordinator, Kenya Fields remembers going each year as a young girl.
Mayor of Hanna and Chairman of the Hanna Indian Community Center Connie Marez said the event “took a hiatus for a few years,” but has gone on for many years.
The Hanna Indian Community Center sponsored the festival Aug. 6-7 by providing the funds for outdoor activities and helping to coordinate the event.
The festival used to host contests for watermelon but in recent years it has been about bringing people together more so than the tasty fruit.
“In the past everyone would bring different watermelons and we would do Best Taste or Biggest Homegrown Melon,” Fields said.
Even though the festival no longer has these watermelon contests, Fields said they still hand out free watermelon during the two-day event.
The year’s festival had several planned activities over two days including waterslides, a parade, cornhole tournament, cup pong tournaments, Ride n’ Roll tournament, and live music from Black Ridge Band and Reversing Radio.
The community purchased a Winchester 6.5 Creedmoor for a ticket raffle; the funds are used to help with any extra expenses acquired from the festivities.
According to Marez, the Watermelon Festival keeps Hanna on the map along with their fireworks display.
“We are a small community,” Marez said. “This keeps us known.”
The Hanna Watermelon Festival is the first weekend of August each year.
According to Fields, there are big plans for next year.