(VINCENNES) -The 5th Annual "Watermelon Drop" returns to Vincennes' Riverfront Pavilion on Dec. 31, with a new feature - a Barbecue Cook-Off.
Cited among the nation's "top ten quirkiest New Year's Eve celebrations" by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel site, the Watermelon Drop will ring in 2013 when an 18-foot, 500-pound watermelon rises high in the sky and drops 13 Knox County watermelons onto a "splatform" at midnight. Fireworks will also light the sky.
"There is no better way to usher in the New Year than with splatting watermelons and fireworks," said Shanon O'Toole, chair of the National Watermelon Drop Committee that organizes the celebration.
New this year will be a Barbecue Cook-Off Contest with judging at 9 p.m.--the start time of the celebration at the Riverfront Pavilion. Already the contest has attracted 12 competitors from Vincennes, Monroe City, Bruceville, Washington, Oaktown, Linton, and the Illinois communities of Mt. Vernon, Lawrenceville, and Palestine.
The top prize in the Barbecue Cook-Off is $500. Other prizes are $250 for second place, $100 for third prize, and $50 for fourth place. Area businesses, clubs and families are also invited to reserve space to set-up tents or campers adjacent to the Pavilion on either Busseron Street or First Street.
"The Barbecue Cook-Off should add to the festivities that include music, food and drink vendors, and a variety of New Year's product vendors. We hope the cook-off can grow in popularity just as the Watermelon Drop has through the years," O'Toole said.
Since its creation in 2008, the 18-foot watermelon has become a star attraction in Vincennes at its Watermelon Festival and in the July 4th and Christmas parades. People also enjoy sharing photographs and YouTube videos of themselves standing next to the 18-foot-long watermelon.
The Watermelon Drop site is adjacent to Vincennes' Riverfront Pavilion located at the corner of First and Busseron streets. "The site allows activities to take place under one roof with restroom facilities, electrical power, and propane heaters. The site is also near several commercial businesses and fraternal organizations that sponsor New Year's events, making downtown Vincennes the place to be on New Year's Eve," O'Toole said.
Beginning at 9 p.m. (EST), revelers at the Riverfront Pavilion will enjoy food, drink, music, games, noisemakers and of course, fun. There will also be a DJ and Karaoke. An assortment of Watermelon Drop clothing and novelty items will also be for sale.
"Last year's Watermelon Drop was big and this year's event should be even bigger as word of the celebration continues to spread. In fact, at the rate this event is growing, it's only a matter of time before the networks add Vincennes to its televised coverage of worldwide New Year's extraordinary extravaganzas. There are few spectacles like this one," O'Toole said.
Indiana's first city, founded in 1732, Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, well-known for its multi-million dollar melon crops that are shipped throughout the nation.
The entry fee for the Barbecue Cook-Off Contest is $50 and for vendors it is $25 with reservations made by calling Shannon at 812-885-2640. Space rental for tents and campers is $25 with reservations made by calling the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-886-6443.
The Watermelon Drop will be broadcast live on www.wzdm.com
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