Watermelon Crawl Festival coming to Pickens county

Pickens country news

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

PICKENS — The Hagood Mill Historic Site is the new home of the Watermelon Crawl Festival.

The festival, now in its second year, will be moving to the mill from Belton, officials announced over the weekend.

The July 27 festival is a partnership between the mill and the S.C. Entertainment & Music Hall of Fame.

The festival is set to begin at 3 p.m. and will feature “music all day,” according to hall of fame executive director Justin Ray Williams.

“We’re very happy to be at this wonderful facility,” Williams said. “We have blues, a little bit of rock, a little bit of country.”
Blues musicians The Carolina Beggars and Nashville singer-songwriter Kyle Mercer are set to perform at the festival. The headliner is Zack Turner, who, along with Buddy Brock, wrote
the 1994 Tracy Byrd hit the festival is named after.

The festival will have food and craft vendors, a watermelon-eating contest, a seed-spitting contest, a watermelon crawl and watermelon carving.

At the end of the festival, Williams said “all of the musicians go back up on stage and we do the actual Watermelon Crawl dance, which is exciting.

“Tons of people come out, they dress in watermelon hats and shirts and those folks are the ones that lead the Watermelon Crawl,” he said.
Williams said the hall of fame events are paired with fundraising for a charity or a nonprofit.

“We’re raising money for Veterans Scholarships Forever,” he said.
Ron Demonet is the founder and managing director of the organization, which aims to establish endowed scholarships at accredited colleges focusing on vocational and skilled trades training in order to help veterans and their spouses acquire new skills sets.

“We’re helping veterans and their families get technical training, get QuickJobs (training), so they can transition back to civilian life quickly,” he said.

Pickens County tourism events coordinator Roy Costner IV said the county is partnering with the hall of fame for several events across the county this year.
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**Harold Alexander - 3pm
Country Gospel

**The Carolina Beggars - 4 pm
Gary Fann, Justin Armitage and Chris Renoylds are The Carolina Beggars. From the Upstate of South Carolina, The Carolina Beggars play acoustic Blues.

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona and now based out of Nashville, TN this country music singer-songwriter and recording artist has entertained folks across America. He's performed in states such as New York, Ohio, Texas, Missouri, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and California to even performing for our troops overseas in Japan. Stepping back, after completing his tour of duty as a U.S. Navy Sailor, Kyle decided to pursue playing Country music as his full-time profession. After gaining years of combined live shows, studio recordings and a good size catalog of self-penned songs under his belt, Kyle hit the road for Nashville to make a name for himself in Country Music. "I love the idea of laying it all on the line and living out one's dream by creating opportunity through hard work and determination. It keeps me pushing for more!"
  Along the way Kyle has worked with many other Nashville artists and songwriters inspiring him to become the "whole package" as a Country artist. He's lived in Tennessee for eight years now and stays busy playing regular gigs on Nashville's famous downtown streets of "Broadway", while staying consistently booked across the nation playing for his dedicated fan base he calls his "Mercenaries", while on top of it all still finding time to write songs for his next project. "I love song writing! Being able to write and sing about the life one's lived and the experiences we have all been through in a way that connects with a listener is truly fulfilling for me. Knowing that my songs could possibly help change a person's life for the better or even give them a "break" from life is a great feeling. Some people say moment to moment is how most people live their lives. I like to think being a songwriter, I live my life song to song."

ZACK TURNER - 7:30pm

Zack Turner - Started playing at the age of 14 professionally.
Handpicked by the group Alabama to replace them at the world famous Bowery in Myrtle Beach, SC.

After a successful run in SC Zack made the move to Nashville in 1987 writing for Ten Ten for 5 years. There, the late great Keith Whitley heard ‘I’m Over You’ - He recorded it and a few months later died an untimely death.

RCA released ‘I’m Over You’ and in no time it was a major hit.
6 more BMI award winning songs followed -

Texas Sized Heartache - Joe Diffie
**Watermelon Crawl - Tracy Byrd
I’ll Go Crazy - Andy Griggs
You’re Not In Kansas Anymore - Jo Dee Messina
Tryin To Find Atlantis - Jamie O'Neal

Zack wrote some songs for Alan Jackson and Toured with him.
Alan Jackson Cuts
Honky Tonk Christmas
I Only Want You For Christmas
She Likes It Too - (Multi Platinum Chattahoochee Album)

Including five cuts by George Jones
High-Tech Redneck
100 Proof Memories
Bed Of Roses
What Am I Doing There
I Don't Want To Know



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