Watermelon Festival in Falfurrias, Texas
The City of Falfurrias, Texas is a small community in South Texas. It is a two-hour drive south from San Antonio, and a one-hour drive north from the Texas border with Mexico. Falfurrias is on the way between many destinations. But, it is not often a place people intentionally choose to visit.
Admittedly, Falfurrias is not the first place we would choose to visit. We stop in Falfurrias on our drives out of South Texas. It's the first toilet break, snack break, or cigarette break on a trip, depending on your traveling group.
Even so, one can't help but wonder what the community is like. Over the years, we have driven through Falfurrias countless times. The highway used to run through the middle of the city until a bypass was built to speed traffic around. What happened to all the businesses that built up on what is now Business Highway 281.
A friend invited me to visit Falfurrias for their Watermelon Festival. After so many years of "I should visit one day", this was the perfect excuse. The only drawback is that it is still a one-hour drive to get there. It meant we had to leave early to have enough time to see the parade.
We bribed our youngest to wake up early with the offer of breakfast at Starbucks. That gets her attention every time. We did not start our drive until 7:45 am. We could arrive around 9 am. The parade would start at 10 am. This would give us time to discover the parade route and where the brisket plates would be distributed.
The Watermelon Festival includes a watermelon auction, which is for the largest, prize-winning watermelons of the season. We didn't plan on staying for that. The Festival is principally a fund-raising effort for the Falfurrias Volunteer Fire Department. The community turns out to support their firefighters.
We arrived early enough to have time to find a place to sit and have some lemonade provided by a nonprofit that sends sandals to people who need them.
Brisket Plate Sale
Brisket plates are a common way to raise money in Texas. They are a safe bet that people will buy some. The Falfurrias Volunteer Fire Department was selling plates for $12 and watermelons for a $5 donation.
The effort included volunteers from the HEB grocery chain and the local high school to prepare plates and distribute them in a drive-through system. The line gets rather long. Fortunately, they were able to keep it moving at a steady pace.
The weather was hot and very humid. We decided to drive home to eat there rather than picnic in Falfurrias. Mrs. TWM enjoyed her meal so much that she wants to make the trip again next year. Even the watermelon somehow tastes much better than store-bought watermelons. It is definitely worth putting the Falfurrias Watermelon Festival on the calendar.
Nearby festivals are an affordable option for travel and entertainment. Falfurrias does have some hotels for those who decide to travel a longer distance. There is also an RV park. Maybe we'll see you there next year.
All photos by Shaine Mata - https://www.flickr.com/photos/shainemata/