2016 Pictures (click to open larger version)
About the Watermelon Festival
The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival has been held
continuously since 1948. It had its beginning in 1940 and has become
one of the most popular festivals in the state. The festival has proven
popular, since its beginning and the crowds have increased in number
to around 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year. Over 50,000 pounds of
watermelons are purchased from area melon growers and served to festival
visitors during the day. The activities during the day include watermelon
exhibits, stage shows, tiny tots contest, free watermelon feed, carnival,
and arts and crafts.
Rush Springs, Oklahoma A Nice Place to Live! by Mac Vincent
Rush Springs, a small town of about 1500 friendly
people, is located 65 miles southwest of Oklahoma City at the junction
of US Highway 81 and OK Highway 17. It has all the good things associated
with living in a small town without all the hassles of a large city.
However, it is not far to a large metropolitan area for entertainment
and shopping. Each year on the second Saturday in August, the town celebrates
the watermelon harvest with The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival. All
day entertainment, with free watermelon in the afternoon is enjoyed
by all! Festival 2004 will be on August 14. Usually about 20,000 people
from many states and several foreign countries come to spend the day.
. Watermelons are important to the economy of this area and get most
of the publicity. However, ranching, farming, peanuts, canning, and
manufacturing probably have just as large an impact
Brief History of Rush Springs, Oklahoma Courtesy of Rush Springs
Rush Springs gets its name from the large springs
near the head of Rush Creek from which the town gets its water supply.
It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, settlements in Grady County,
Oklahoma. The territory of Rush Springs served as a camping place for
Indian Tribes from very early days. The Wichita Indians first moved
by the springs and settled on Rush Creek about four miles southeast
of the present town about 1850. It was at this place that the famous
"Battle of the Wichita Village" was fought between the Comanches and
the United States Cavalry under the command of General Earl Van Dorn
on October 1, 1858. Following the battle, the Wichitas fled to Fort
Arbuckle. The famous Chisholm Cattle Trail passed about one and one-half
miles east of town and this area became a watering place for many herds
of cattle that were driven northward from Texas to Kansas to be shipped
by rail to eastern markets. During the years 1871 to 1878 Fort Sill
was established nearby and supplies were shipped to it from points in
the eastern part of Indian Territory. After the building of Missouri,
Kansas and Texas Railroad, government freight and many passengers as
well as mail, were hauled from here to Fort Sill. This became a major
shipping route. A stage stand was built and a little town sprung up.
The Huntley Ranch was established on Rush Creek near the site of the
old Wichita Village. The ranch became a stage stand and freight station
in 1883. The office was moved to Rush Springs in 1892. On November 21,
1889, the town of Rush Springs incorporated. The town was officially
named Rush Springs, Indian Territory, at this time. When the Rock Island
Railroad came by the springs, the town took on a rapid growth since
it was one of the government freight stations to Fort Sill. In the early
1900s the freight trade ceased and since then the town has depended
on ranching, farming and oil interests for its existence. Watermelons
have been grown in and around Rush Springs for more than 100 years!
The Indians who lived in the area were known for growing the watermelons.
That's one reason our melons are the best, we have spent many years
perfecting them. Some things don't change much. Watermelons can still
be purchased from growers and sellers along the highway and on Main
Street. There's plenty to go around...so take several home with you.